Somerset

Hammer attacker 'had nervous breakdown'

Jim Booth
Image caption Jim Booth spent nine days in hospital after the hammer attack

A man who attacked a 96-year-old Royal Navy veteran with a claw hammer during a raid on his home was having a nervous breakdown at the time, a court heard.

Joseph Isaacs, 40, of no fixed address, denies attempting to murder Jim Booth in the attack on 22 November.

Mr Booth spent nine days in hospital following the burglary at his home in Taunton, Somerset.

Mr Isaacs told Taunton Crown Court he wanted money as he was "starving" and had not eaten for days.

He said: "I was having a breakdown. I remember most of it. I can't remember every last bit of it.

"I shouldn't have been in Taunton. I should have went back to my mum's and dad's and got help sort of thing."

'No food'

He previously admitted aggravated burglary, causing grievous bodily harm and seven counts of fraud for using Mr Booth's bank card.

The defendant, who appeared via video link from HMP Long Lartin, told the jury he had been sleeping in his car prior to the attack.

He said: "I had no food for four days. I just wanted money.

"Do you know what it is like not to have food for four days?"

The court has heard Mr Isaacs called at the house in Gipsy Lane offering to do repair work to the roof.

'Hurt but walking'

He admitted hitting Mr Booth a number of times but denied hitting him after he collapsed on to the floor near a table in his living room.

"I knew he was hurt but he was walking," he said.

He denied intending to kill Mr Booth or being angry at being turned down to carry out the work.

He also told the court that he could not remember Mr Booth's response, but remembered following him into his home shouting "money, money, money".

Mr Booth, who joined the Navy at 18, was part of a top-secret team of submariners who slipped into the waters off Normandy to scout the beaches during World War Two.

On D-Day, he climbed into a fold-up canoe and shone a beacon out to sea to guide Allied craft safely to shore.

The trial continues.

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