A jury has begun its deliberations in the trial of a public schoolboy accused of attacking two sleeping students and a teacher with hammers at a boarding school, writes Rod Minchin from PA.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of three counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident at Blundell’s School in Tiverton, Devon, in June last year.

During the two-month trial Exeter Crown Court heard the boy was wearing just his boxer shorts and was “on a mission” to protect himself from a zombie apocalypse when he carried out the attack.

The teenager claimed he was sleepwalking when he assaulted the two boys and housemaster Henry Roffe-Silvester.

The boy is accused of arming himself with three claw hammers and waiting for the two boys to be asleep before attacking them.

Mr Roffe-Silvester, who was asleep in his own quarters, was woken by noises coming from the boarding house and went to investigate.

When he entered the bedroom where the alleged 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.

Both boys suffered skull fractures, as well as injuries to their ribs, spleen, a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

Mr Roffe-Silvester suffered six blows to his head.

The defendant, now aged 17, accepts carrying out the attacks but says he is not guilty of three charges of attempted murder because he was sleepwalking.

He told the jury he had no recollection of the attacks and remembers falling asleep on the evening of June 8 and then seeing the room covered in blood.

“I remember being in the room. The room was covered in blood. What I could see was blood. I didn’t hear anything,” he told the court.

“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 told the court he kept two hammers by his bed “for protection” from the “zombie apocalypse”.

He also had a screwdriver and a Swiss army knife in his room.

Asked to explain what a zombie apocalypse was, the boy said: “The end of the world.”

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

“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 said.

Inviting the jurors to begin their deliberations, trial judge Mrs Justice Cutts told them they were under no pressure of time.

“It is important you try and reach verdicts that are unanimous – that means verdicts on which you all agree,” she said.

“The law permits me in certain circumstances to accept verdicts that are not verdicts of you all.

“Those circumstances have not yet arisen, so when you retire, I ask you to reach verdicts upon which each one of you is agreed.

“Should the time (come) when I can accept majority verdicts, I will call you back into court to give you further directions.

“Please feel under no pressure of time.”

The jury will resume its deliberations on Tuesday.