A BOARDING school housemaster has told a jury how he disarmed a pupil who attacked him as he went to investigate noise from a dormitory where two boys lay seriously injured.

Henry Roffe-Silvester said he was struck on the top of his head with the foot-long hammer as soon as he opened the door of the room at Blundell’s School in Tiverton last June.

He was confronted by a 16-year-old pupil who allegedly tried to kill two roommates with hammers as they slept in the early hours of June 9 last year.

The 15 and 16-year-old boarders suffered life-threatening head injuries and were only saved by being given first aid by other boys and having life-saving surgery at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

The defendant, now aged 17, denies attempting to murder the two boys and Mr Roffe-Silvester. His defence barrister has told the jury at Exeter Crown Court he was sleepwalking, had no knowledge of what he was doing, and never intended to hurt anyone.

Mr Roffe-Silvester told the jury that he heard footsteps from a dormitory above his bedroom and went to see what was happening, noting the time as 12.48am on his digital bedside clock.

He said: “As I opened the door the defendant turned towards me and struck me on the head with a hammer with his right hand. I was struck to the top of my head. It was quite hard and it definitely hurt. His arm was high and came down from above although I am taller than him.

“I think I stumbled back at first and there was a second blow. My memory is a bit hazy. The second blow was towards my head and connected. I told him it was me because I initially thought he did not know who I was and maybe thought I was an intruder.

“I can’t remember exactly what I said but I tried to reassure him. I probably said ‘it’s me’. I went from there backwards down the corridor with him coming towards me and still trying to hit me with the hammer again, and he did hit me a total of six times, although I only knew that when I was in hospital. I can’t really remember each blow.

“One was on the back of my head so I must have turned away from him at one stage. I remember him coming towards me in the corridor and running at me with the hammer. I don’t know exactly how the six blows happened.

“I felt I needed to get the hammer off him as he tried to hit me. I put my hand up and managed to stop it and take it out of his hand. I was bleeding from the top of my head and one of the blows which hit my eye.

“I was definitely shouting for help. The boy’s demeanour changed from being in a rage to being calm and normal. He slumped down by the door frame onto his haunches in a squatting position. I heard him tell another boy ‘I was dreaming’.”

The housemaster discovered the two injured pupils in their beds and he then recovered two more hammers from the floor of the dormitory, where there was also a lot of blood.

The trial continues.

Crown Court Reporter