Hammer attack schoolboy guilty of attempted murder

Hammer attack schoolboy guilty of attempted murder

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A public schoolboy who claimed he was sleepwalking when he attacked two sleeping roommates and a housemaster at his boarding school in Devon with hammers, has been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder.

The attacks happened in the early hours of 9 June 2023 at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Exeter Crown Court was told.

The two roommates, aged 15 and 16 at the time, were left with severe injuries and the housemaster Henry Roffe-Silvester suffered six wounds to his head.

The boy, aged 16 at the time of the attacks, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he was sleepwalking and dreaming when the attacks happened.

He claimed he had the hammers for protection against a “zombie apocalypse”.

The jury returned their majority verdicts after nearly eight days of deliberation and a trial lasting nine weeks.

The court heard from pupils, teachers, the police, a consultant forensic pathologist, paramedics, sleep experts and the defendant’s mother.

The defence had argued it was a case of “textbook sleepwalking” while the prosecution said it had been planned and what happened that night was not the actions of somebody sleepwalking.

Sentencing will take place on 18 October following psychiatric reports.

Housemaster struck

The court heard the boy had armed himself with three claw hammers and waited for the two boys to be asleep before attacking them.

The two pupils were asleep in cabin-style beds in one of the school’s boarding houses when the defendant climbed up and attacked them shortly before 01:00 BST.

Mr Roffe-Silvester, who was asleep in his own quarters, was awoken by noises coming from the boarding house and went to investigate.

When he entered the bedroom where the attack had happened, he saw a silhouetted figure standing in the room, who then turned towards him and repeatedly struck him over the head with a hammer.

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