UPDATE: Portsmouth hammer attack: Builder jailed for 12 years

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

Friday, 2nd December 2016, 3:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 5:43 pm
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

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.

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.

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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 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.

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.’

Police in Shearer Road after the attack Picture: Kimberley Barber

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.

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 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.’

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

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.

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

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.

More to follow

Police in Shearer Road after the attack Picture: Kimberley Barber
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