A PUBLIC schoolboy who attacked two sleeping dorm-mates with hammers was “super-stressed and sleep-deprived”, a jury have been told.

The barrister representing the 17-year-old told Exeter Crown Court that the boy had been addicted to his iPad and iPhone to such an extent that he no longer looked at the world through his own eyes.

Mr Kerim Fuad, KC, said the boarder at Blundell’s School in Tiverton must have been sleepwalking when he attacked the two other boys, aged 15 and 16, just before 1am on June 9 last year.

He said the defendant, who was only 16 at the time, was also under extreme pressure from an internet blackmail scam which police had managed to trace to Nigeria without identifying the extortionists.

The boy is on trial accused of the attempted murder of the two room-mates and of his housemaster Henry Roffe-Silvester, who was also battered around the head with a hammer when he went to investigate the disturbance in the dormitory.

The two other boys both suffered multiple skull fractures and survived thanks to the work of doctors at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and neurosurgeons at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Both suffered life-threatening injuries, some of which may cause permanent cognitive impairment.

The prosecution closed their case to the jury today, Thursday, May 16 and the jury have been told that the defendant will be giving evidence tomorrow, Friday, May 17.

Mr Fuad, defending, opened the defence case with an address to the jury in which he said they would hear specialist evidence about his client’s psychological state at the time and his history of sleepwalking.

He said the boy had no motive to attack his room-mates and that the possible explanation for what he had done was that he must have been sleepwalking.

He said members of the boy’s family would tell of his history of sleepwalking.

He said the jury would need to understand the context of what happened and the stresses which the boy was under at the time.

He said: “On that night he was a sleep deprived super-stressed wreck, who was using his iPhone and iPad continuously, almost religiously into the early hours of just about every night.

“He was rather like a night owl but with one big difference. Owls are wise and sleep in the daytime to recharge their batteries. He was not wise and not sleeping in the daytime.

“It is easy to blame people after the event for not implementing a regime of sleep, but it is these gadgets which are a plague of modern-day society.

“Sometimes you may wonder whether kids see the world through their own eyes or through the screen of their phone or iPad. It is a wonder he was able to do any school work at all.”