student murder hammer

Student at £43k a year school found guilty of attempted murder after ‘bloodbath’ attack

He smashed in the heads of two sleeping students with a hammer before trying to kill a teacher

A student at a £43,000 a year private school has been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder after smashing the skulls of two students with a hammer before trying to kill a teacher. 

The 17-year-old, who was studying at Blundell’s private school in Devon, claimed to be sleepwalking but carried out a “horrific attack” with intent to kill, the trial heard.

The attack took place on the 9th June last year and the two victims, who were 15 and 16 at the time, were taken to hospital in life-threatening conditions and now will never recover, the court heard.

After a two-month trial, he was found guilty today on all three counts of attempted murder by a majority verdict and will be sentenced in October.

The student said he never intended to kill the two students or teacher. “I feel very terribly sorry for all three individuals because of what I did to them. I feel very sorry for everyone, the families and themselves,” he told the jury.


The student was wearing only his boxers and claimed he was sleepwalking when he carried out the attacks. He told the court he had the hammers to “prepare for the zombie apocalypse.”

The trial heard the two students had gone to bed and the victims were fast asleep and had been since before midnight.

Prosecutors told the trial the defendant then decided to “put into action a plan that he had been fermenting in his head for some time.”

James Dawes KC, told the jury: “That plan was to kill and he decided to do it while they slept in their own beds – and he decided to do it with a hammer.”

The trial heard he owned four claw hammers and selected one to then quietly climb up onto the top of the first cabin bed.

The lawyer added: “The boys were asleep and they both had heads on pillows and then he smashed the 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 as well to strike these boys. These blows smashed their skulls. it broke through the skull driving pieces of bone into the brain.”

Blows to the back of one of the victims damaged his spleen, and broke a rib with its now sharp edge puncturing one of his lungs.

“Blood went everywhere”, he added.


The student then went for the second victim who was also asleep and climbed up and he “smashed a hammer down onto his head multiple times as he slept”, the jury heard.

“Those blows broke his skull, driving pieces of bone into his brain and the membranes around the brain. He hit his upper arm with the hammer, claw side.”

The court heard it was “astonishing” that both students survived but James Dawes added: “Sadly neither of them will ever be the same again as they were prior to the attack. Both heads are permanently damaged and cognitive functions are not as they were.

“Mercifully neither has any memories of these attacks – they were both asleep. They recall going to bed and waking up in hospital some days later.”

The teacher Henry Roffe-Silvester then went to the students’ room to investigate the noise and was also attacked. As soon as he opened the door the student attacked him with a hammer. “He only knew he had been hit after he had been hit and did not see the blow coming,” the lawyer said.

“He was initially hit on the top of the head and a second blow struck him down onto the head. Mr Roffe-Silvester retreated down the corridor with (the defendant) striking him as he went down. Aiming at his face and head. Blood was pouring down his face and he was shouting at him to stop.”

But he did not stop and managed to get six blows to his head before the teacher managed to grab the hammer and stop the attack. He described the student as “expressionless” and said he “appeared to be on a mission” until he finally calmed down and squatted against a wall.

student murder hammer


The jury heard the student say he was stressed about a number of issues, including with his brother and owing money to a girl. He told one boy he had hammers because he was “watching horror movies lately and had them to protect himself.”

One paramedic who arrived at the scene described it as the “worst scene he had ever encountered in 20 years of ambulance care.” Another said he had served in Iraq and had never seen such a scene of carnage.

The jury was also played a 999 call made by another student. The student told the call handler: “He’s been hit on the head with a hammer. I just woke up to some shouting – a teacher and student have been hit with a hammer.”

In his evidence, the student who has now been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, said: “I remember being in the room. The room was covered in blood. What I could see was blood. I didn’t hear anything.

“I remember walking out to the corridor.”

He added: “I knew something really bad had gone on and everyone was looking towards me. I didn’t remember doing anything so the only rational thing I was thinking was that I was sleepwalking.”

The boy said he did not intend to kill either Henry Roffe-Silvester or the two students.

He added: “I feel very terribly sorry for all three individuals because of what I did to them. I feel very sorry for everyone, the families and themselves.”

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Student at £43,000 a year private school ‘smashed the skulls’ of two students with hammer

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Featured image before edits via SWNS.