A group of three men who brutally stabbed two former child refugees in a "gratuitous" violent attack in a flat in Kensington have been jailed.
Brothers Ahmed Hajila, 20, of Sutton Way, Notting Hill , and Aymen Hajila, 18, of Durrell Road, Dagenham, together with Rehan Ullah, 18, of White City Close, Shepherd's Bush , were all sentenced following the vicious double stabbing last year that left a pair of young men fighting for their lives.
The first victim, a 24-year-old man, was stabbed 30 times while his friend, aged 24, was stabbed ten times in the face and bottled on his head in Kensington Church Street on January 26 last year.
Remarkably, police say both victims managed to make a full recovery despite the severity of their wounds.
At the sentencing hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on Friday (February 5), the court heard how the attack was borne out of a planned robbery.
This then escalated into severe violence with Ahmed Hajila stabbing the second victim in the head and face area ten times, while Aymen and Ullah both bottled him, causing injuries to his eye sockets, cheek bones and hands as he tried to protect himself.
His friend was attacked solely by Ahmed Hajila, who knifed him a total of 30 times.
The court heard how the man desperately wrapped a duvet around his body in a futile bid to protect himself.
The violence was so severe that both victims reportedly passed out during the attack while the attackers fled with their belongings.
Thankfully one of the victims regained consciousness a short while later and managed to make calls for help.
In doing so, he gave medical aid to his friend whose wounds were potentially life threatening at that point.
'Nothing can justify such an abhorrent act'
Aymen Hajila was arrested and subsequently charged on January 30 last year.
Ullah fled from London to Rochdale in an apparent attempt to lie low with his extended family but was arrested on February 4.
On March 6 2015, Ahmed Hajila was arrested in Surrey for an unrelated drugs offence before being handed over to Met officers and charged as above.
Police say items of bloodstained clothing and stolen property linked the three men to the crimes.
Detective Superintendent Raffaele D'Orsi, said: "The judge described this attack as gratuitous, excessive and planned and we are pleased that these three men have been imprisoned for this terrible attack of senseless violence on two innocent victims, the only motive being the theft of low value property.
“Nothing can justify such an abhorrent act.
"Both victims were lucky to survive thanks to the actions of the first officer on the scene, PC Luke Fraser, and the attentions of the ambulance crew.
"The victims both originally fled to England to escape violence in war-torn countries, and I would like to pay tribute to their continued bravery.
"I would also like to echo the judge's praise for the work of the proactive team at Kensington and Chelsea borough when he commented on how this was a meticulous, exhaustive, and complicated investigation, very well presented at trial, and in particular he singled out the work of DC Dan Mulleri."
'I get nightmares where the incident replays in my head'
In his victim impact statement, the first victim, a former child refugee said:
"Those few hours where my life almost ended, it was changed forever. In terms of what happened to me it was the most terrifying thing I had experienced, including things I had seen as a child in Somalia.
"At times I wished I had died because I felt like so much of my life had gone. It took all of my strength to face up to court. I suffered intimidation, people tried to stop me giving evidence, but I never once considered giving up."
The second victim, originally from Eritrea, who reportedly witnessed his pastor father being killed in front of him when he was a young boy, said:
"I still have the scars and have to look at myself every day in the mirror and be reminded of what they did to me.
"I used to be confident but now I always wear a hat, or sunglasses to hide my face and create a barrier. The images of what happened are so vivid that I get nightmares where the incident replays in my head.
"I don't think that experience will ever leave me."
According to Metropolitan Police , Ahmed Hajila received a life sentence for one count of attempted murder against the first victim and one count of GBH with intent and one count of conspiracy to rob against the second victim.
He also received two years' imprisonment for possession with intent to supply heroin which will run concurrently with his life sentence, serving a minimum tariff of ten years.
Aymen Hajila was jailed for five years for one count of GBH with intent against the second victim and was found not guilty of attempted murder and not guilty of one count of conspiracy to rob the same victim.
Ullah was given eight years for one count of GBH with intent against the first victim having been found not guilty of the attempted murder and was also given six years' concurrent imprisonment for one count of conspiracy to rob.