UPDATE: Portsmouth hammer attack: Builder jailed for 12 years

James Hemming, 29, of Cross Street, Portsea, was jailed for 12 years at Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Hampshire Police

James Hemming, 29, of Cross Street, Portsea, was jailed for 12 years at Portsmouth Crown Court. Picture: Hampshire Police

The government has lowered the terror threat level

Government lowers terror threat level

A FORMER soldier who brutally attacked a 17-year-old girl with a hammer has been jailed for 12 years.

Labourer James Hemming said nothing in the dock at Portsmouth Crown Court as judge Sarah Munro QC jailed him for the April 11 attack in Shearer Road.

The 16oz claw hammer James Hemming used to attack a 17-year-old girl in Shearer Road, Portsmouth, on April 11. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

The 16oz claw hammer James Hemming used to attack a 17-year-old girl in Shearer Road, Portsmouth, on April 11. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

She branded him a ‘violent monster’ during the court hearing.

The court heard he gave no reason for the attack, which left the teenager with long-lasting brain damage and scarring.

She suffered five wounds to the back of her head, two to the front and two skull fractures.

Hammer blows also caused defensive wounds to her arms, the court heard.

Police in Shearer Road after the attack  Picture: Kimberley Barber

Police in Shearer Road after the attack Picture: Kimberley Barber

Hemming, 29, of Cross Street, Portsea, gave no reason for the attack and claims he does not know why he carried it out.

Addressing Hemming, judge Sarah Munro QC said: ‘There’s nothing in your past to explain this transformation from the norm to what can only be described as a violent monster.’

The girl was rushed to Southampton General Hospital following the brutal assault.

She then spent two months in Queen Alexandra Hospital recovering, the court heard.

The 16oz claw hammer found in a nearby drain. James Hemming used the hammer to attack a 17-year-old girl in Shearer Road, Portsmouth, on April 11. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

The 16oz claw hammer found in a nearby drain. James Hemming used the hammer to attack a 17-year-old girl in Shearer Road, Portsmouth, on April 11. Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

In a victim impact statement she said: ‘All I want is to ask James: “why did you do this to me and what made you think you’re got to nearly kill a child who has her whole life ahead of her and make it a painful misery?”.’

The girl continued: ‘I hope he spends his time in prison knowing exactly what he’s done to me and all those around me.’

She added: ‘I hope he gets everything he deserves and his life falls apart around him.’

Nigel Lickley QC, defending, said: ‘The defendant doesn’t know why he did what he did and cannot offer any explanation.

‘Whether, as the author of the pre-sentence report suggest, there will be insight, one can only speculate.’

Police spent hours tracking down Hemming by scouring CCTV across Portsmouth.

Hemming was initially charged with attempted murder.

The Crown Prosecution Service accepted a plea of wounding with intent when he appeared in court on September 8.

He denied attempted murder and having an offensive weapon and those charges were dropped.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Liz Williams, said: ‘Wounding with intent is a serious offence and today’s sentence highlights the severity of this particular crime, which left the victim hospitalised for a number of weeks.

‘Thankfully this type of horrific, heinous crime is rare and the victim is starting to slowly rebuild her life.

‘This was a particularly challenging, high level investigation, because the level of intensity continued for over two weeks; we had up to 80 officers involved in the most intense stages and over 1,000 hours of CCTV was viewed from over 250 cameras.

‘I am pleased that our hard work and persistence paid off and that we will see James Hemming imprisoned for many years.

‘I hope today’s sentence goes some way to give the victim the closure she needs to put the terrible ordeal behind her and that she feels she has got justice.’

Read how the investigation brought Hemming to justice.

Back to the top of the page