A public schoolboy was “on a mission” to protect himself from a zombie apocalypse when he attacked two sleeping students and a teacher with hammers at a boarding school, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old was wearing just his boxer shorts and claimed he was sleepwalking when he attacked the two boys and the housemaster at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon.

Exeter Crown Court heard that the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had armed himself with three claw hammers and waited for the two boys to be asleep before allegedly attacking them.

James Dawes KC, prosecuting, said the two boys were asleep in cabin-style beds in one of the co-ed school’s boarding houses when the defendant climbed up and attacked them shortly before 1am on June 9 last year.

“The defendant was awake, and he decided to put into action a plan that he had been fermenting in his head for some time,” Mr Dawes said.

“And that plan was to kill the two boys, and he decided to do it whilst they slept in their own beds, and he decided to do it with a hammer.

“It is not known which boy he attacked first.

A teenager has gone on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of attempting to murder two boys and a housemaster at Blundell's School in Devon (David Wilcock/PA)
A teenager has gone on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of attempting to murder two boys and a housemaster at Blundell’s School in Devon (David Wilcock/PA)

“The defendant was in possession of four claw hammers – a heavy hammer with a flat striking side and two-pronged claw at the back.

“He had four of them and he selected more than one hammer and he quietly climbed up into the top of the first cabin bed.

“The boys are asleep, and they had both had their heads on pillows, and then he smashed a hammer or hammers into their heads as they slept, multiple times.

“He also hit arms and backs. He didn’t just use the flat end of the hammer – he used the claw end as well to strike these boys.

“These blows smashed their skulls.”

The court heard that housemaster Henry 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 turned towards him and repeatedly struck him over the head with a hammer.

Another student heard Mr Roffe-Silvester’s shouts and swearing as he fled the bedroom and dialled 999 – believing there was an intruder.

“Mr Roffe-Silvester retreated down the corridor, with the defendant attacking him again and again with the hammer around his face and head,” Mr Dawes said.

“He was shouting at the defendant to stop. In total there were six impacts to his head.

“He said the defendant was expressionless, he was neutral and unsettling in his expression and appearance.

“Mr Roffe-Silvester said he thought the defendant appeared to be ‘on a mission’ and afterwards his face and body relaxed, and he was calm and slumped on his feet, squatting against the wall.”

Another student was told to “keep an eye” on the defendant in the matron’s office, Mr Dawes said.

“The defendant told him he was feeling quite stressed about things before the incident with school tests and owed some money to a girl,” he said.

“The defendant told the student he had hammers and he had been watching horror movies lately and he had them to protect himself.”

Mr Dawes said the defendant told the student he had fallen asleep after watching a movie and then carried out the attack.

The prosecutor suggested this was a lie because there was evidence that the boy was using his iPad until moments before the alleged assaults.

“The student tried to calm the defendant down and asked him again what had happened, and the defendant said to the student he was watching horror movies and he had weapons to prepare for the zombie apocalypse and to protect himself,” Mr Dawes said.

One student heard the defendant say: “I am sorry, I was dreaming.”

And another told police the teenager said: “I am going to prison, I was sleepwalking.”

The court heard that Mr Roffe-Silvester has not realised at first the two boys had been injured and they were discovered lying in their beds a few minutes later by another student.

Paramedics arriving at the school described the scene they found, with one saying the bedroom as “the worst scene he had ever encountered in 20 years in emergency care”.

A colleague said: “I have served in Iraq and had never seen such a scene of carnage, with blood over the desks, over the walls and the beds.”

Another said: “It was like a scene from a horror film. The boys were making a deal of noise and it was clear to him they were fighting for their lives.”

Mr Dawes told the jury both boys suffered skull fractures, as well as injuries to their ribs, spleen, a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

“Blood went everywhere,” he said.

“You may think that whoever does that intends to kill the person they are attacking.

“They were sleeping at the time and astonishingly they both survived these attacks.

“Their survival has nothing to do with the defendant and his actions but everything to do with the speed at which the 999 call was made by a boy at school and the astonishing skill of the paramedics who arrived and the skilful work of the doctors and surgeons who saved their lives at the hospital.”

Mr Dawes said both boys are living with the “long-term consequences” of the attack but have no memory of the incident.

“Sadly, neither of them will ever be the same again as they were prior to the attack,” he said.

The defendant, now aged 17, denies three charges of attempted murder.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.