A PUBLIC schoolboy who allegedly attacked two roommates with a hammer had researched serial killers and sentences for murder on the internet.

The 16-year-old had also told one of the two teenaged victims that he hated him in messages sent in the months before the attack at a dormitory at Blundell’s School in Tiverton.

The boy, now aged 17, is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of attempting to murder the boys, who were 15 and 16 and his housemaster Mr Henry Roffe-Silvester.

All three suffered head injuries in the incident which happened shortly before 1am on June 9 last year.

The two boys had multiple fractures to their skulls and only survived because of prompt surgical intervention. At least one is expected to make a full recovery.

Mr James Dawes, KC, prosecuting, said the attacks on his two sleeping roommates were planned and that the pupil had bought four hammers from a DIY shop in Tiverton despite having a similar weapon confiscated by his housemaster two terms before.

He said activity on the attacker’s iPad showed he had been awake and using it while listening to music right up to the moment he used at least two hammers to hit the boys.

Mr Dawes said checks on the boy’s phone showed he had carried out internet searches in the five preceding months including “Can a hammer be used as a weapon? Can a hammer kill? What would happen to the head if someone was hit by a hammer, would they lose consciousness?” and “What happens to a head when it is hit by a hammer”.

The boy also researched serial killers and what weapons they used. Searches included “young serial killer near Exeter”, “youngest serial killer”, “how do serial killers get caught” and “serial killer kills victim while they are asleep”.

He also looked up likely penalties for serial killers, where they would serve their sentences, and how would they be regarded by other inmates.

Mr Dawes said the defendant had developed a hatred against one of the boys he attacked, who had been a close friend until he mistakenly thought he had laughed at him in class.

He became hostile from the start of the school year and during the Christmas holidays he sent a series of offensive messages through an online alias he had created on a gaming website.

He told him he hated him and sent him a photo of a smashed head with brains coming out of it and another similar image which was a still from the horror film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Other messages said “f***ing die”, and “f***ing hate you, die”.

He also had a grudge against the other roommate, who had scrawled an offensive message in marker pen on a bottle of body lotion.

The trial continues.

Crown Court Reporter