Three women tourists have been attacked with a hammer as they slept in their room in a busy London hotel yards from Oxford Street.
One of the women is fighting for her life in a critical condition after the horrific attack at a room in the the four star Cumberland Hotel in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The two other women, who suffered head and facial injuries in the assault, are said to be too traumatised by the incident to speak to police.
Police are investigating the possibility that the women, who were in the hotel room with three young children, were attacked after confronting an intruder during a bungled robbery by an opportunist thief.
The victims, all from the United Arab Emirates and aged in their 30s, were staying at the Cumberland Hotel, which is near Marble Arch in London's West End, when they were attacked at around 1.50am yesterday.
Police said they believe the single male suspect went into the bedroom on the seventh floor of the hotel where the three women and three children, who are visiting London from the United Arab Emirates, were asleep in adjoining rooms.
The most seriously injured of the group is said to be in a stable condition and has been placed in an induced coma by surgeons in a bid to stabilise her condition.
One witness Hasan Mohamed, 28, from the UAE, told the London Evening Standard that he was woken by terrified screaming from the room where the women were attacked.
"I heard horrific screaming. The woman was desperate she was shouting 'I regret coming here, they are bleeding. My sister is bleeding from the head, please help'," he told the paper.
“She kept saying she regretted coming, it was horrible to hear. I know security were called. There is security everywhere in the hotel. At first I was scared for my family but I have been reassured. The hotel said that things like this only happen once ever hundred years."
"Everybody in the UAE is talking about this terrible attack. We are all in shock. I will never forget those screams," he added.
Police are treating the attacks as attempted murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Chalmers said: "This was an unusually violent attack on three women and I am very keen to speak with anyone who was in or around the hotel between 1am and 2am on Sunday morning.
"Did you see or hear anything that could be of use to my officers? If so, we would like to hear from you as soon as possible."
Police are said to have retrieved CCTV footage and are speaking to staff and other guests at the hotel.
A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service said: "We were called to reports of an assault at Great Cumberland Place. We sent a responder in a car and three ambulance crews. Staff treated three patients, all women, and two were reported to be in their 30s.
"All patients were taken as priorities to hospital."
The luxury four star Cumberland Hotel is on Oxford Street near to Marble Arch Tube station. It has over 1,000 rooms, including a Jimi Hendrix Suite.