Hammer attacker was in defensive rage, jury told

Blundell's School
Sleep forensic expert Dr Mark Pressman said the pupil was in a "defensive rage" [BBC]

A pupil who attacked two sleeping students and his teacher with a hammer at a boarding school in Devon was in a "defensive rage", a jury has heard.

Sleep forensic expert Dr Mark Pressman denied the defendant was in a "killing rage" when he attacked the trio at Blundell's School on 9 June 2023, Exeter Crown Court heard.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with the attempted murder of the two students and his housemaster.

The pupil denies the charges.

'Severely stressed'

The defence accepts the pupil carried out the hammer attacks but claims he was sleepwalking at the time.

Dr Pressman denied a prosecution claim that the pupil was in a killing rage and said: "He was in a defensive rage."

James Dawes KC, prosecuting, argued Dr Pressman "put the cart before the horse" and was trying to fit the evidence around a theory.

Dr Pressman said nothing had changed his opinion that the defendant had been sleepwalking at the time of the attack.

He told the court the pupil was the "most severely stressed" he had seen due to exam pressure and because he was being blackmailed by a woman over nude photographs he had shared with her.

The trial continues.

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