Surbiton hammer attacker awaits sentencing

A MAN attempted to attack his ex-partner with a hammer just months after he had completed a prison sentence for manslaughter.

Rachid Riahi, 37, assaulted Gemma Charlton in her Surbiton home in August this year. Miss Charlton suffered extensive bruising to her neck, knees, and elbows, and was hospitalised.

Riahi pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary during his trial at Kingston Crown Court, but claims he did not deliberately arm himself with a hammer.

Raana Sheik, defending, told the court Riahi was carrying the hammer for work, and it “fell out” during the altercation with Miss Charlton.

He was remanded in custody until his sentencing on December 4, at which time Judge Andrew Campbell will have determined a correct basis of plea.

Riahi, of Walton-on-Thames, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for stabbing his stepfather (Kevin Francis, 49) to death after a row at their family home in 2010.

Ms Sheik said Miss Charlton was an ex-partner, and that Riahi believed she would prevent him from seeing his daughter.

He was only stopped from striking Miss Charlton with the hammer by a female companion, who was with Riahi as he travelled to work as a decorator on the morning of August 4 this year.

Prosecuting, Stephen Apted told the court: “Miss Charlton heard a banging on her front door. She looked through the spyhole and saw the defendant. She opened the door and he pushed his way into the flat.

“He was in possession of a hammer. He pushed her into the living room, smashing a window. He grabbed her, threw her to the floor, and hit and kicked her. Miss Charlton managed to get up before being thrown to the floor again.

“She felt a blow to the face,and the defendant stamped on her ribs. He raised the hammer as if to hit her, but was prevented from doing so by the other woman he was with.”

Mr Apted added that Riahi continued to send Miss Charlton unpleasant text messages while she was in hospital. He was eventually detained the following evening (August 5).

During his initial police interview, Riahi produced a prepared statement denying the offence, saying that he was allowed entry into Miss Charlton’s home and that he had been the one assaulted.