Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Man jailed for hammer attack on escort in Portsmouth

James Hemming Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption A judge said nothing in James Hemming's past could explain his transformation into a "violent monster"

A "violent monster" who attacked a 17-year-old "adult escort" with a hammer leaving her with permanent brain injuries has been jailed for 12 years.

The teenager's skull was fractured in several places during the attack at a property in Portsmouth on 11 April.

James Hemming, 29, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent at an earlier hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court.

His barrister said: "He does not know why he did what he did - he cannot offer any explanation."

Image caption Police said the attack took place at a property with possible links to the sex trade

The attack took place at a property in Shearer Road which police said had possible links to the sex trade.

The girl had arranged to meet Hemming in the "context of an adult escort", prosecutor Kerry Maylin said.

A friend in the house was woken up by the sound of screaming and saw Hemming standing with the hammer raised before hitting the victim as she lay on the floor.

'Painful misery'

The court heard the victim suffered 44 injuries including lasting brain damage and had lost most of her memories of the previous two years.

In a victim impact statement, the girl, now 18, said her life is now a "painful misery" as she struggles with post traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The court heard Hemming, of Cross Street, Portsea, had never revealed why he carried out the attack and remained silent in police interviews.

Nigel Lickley, QC, said the offence was "totally out of character" for the former soldier, who was arrested 18 days after the attack.

Det Ch Insp Liz Williams said the arrest followed "a particularly challenging, high level investigation" involving up to 80 officers viewing 1,000 hours of CCTV footage from over 250 cameras.

Passing sentence, Judge Sarah Munro said nothing in Hemming's past could explain his transformation into a "violent monster".

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