A UNIVERSITY drop-out decided to kill his parents in a hammer attack so they would never find out he had failed his first year.
Christopher Wood launched an assault on his mam and dad while they were asleep in bed, after creeping into their room in the early hours of the morning with a weapon he had taken from his dad’s toolbox.
Newcastle Crown Court heard parents Jennifer and Frederick Wood, both 49, survived the terrifying ordeal without serious injury.
Police were alerted when Mrs Wood made a 999 call at 5.20am on July 23 last year saying her 20-year-old son had “gone berserk and was trying to kill her and her husband”.
When officers arrived at the family’s Houghton home, Mr Wood, who had a cut to his head and blood on his face, was restraining his son on the floor.
Wood, of Longacre, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and taken to Cherry Knowle Hospital.
During interviews with specialists he gave an insight into what he had been planning that night.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court: “He explained the background was he had gone to Leeds University but unfortunately had not been attending lectures and had not sat his exams.
“He knew his parents would eventually find out and he was, therefore, contemplating suicide.
“He came to the conclusion he would kill his parents and himself.
“At the time he was thinking there was no other way out.
“He took the hammer from his father’s tool box and hid it in his bedroom, intending to use it the following morning.
“He woke at 5am, picked up the hammer and went into his parents’ bedroom where they were asleep.
“He hit his father with the hammer, he believed two blows, and hit his mother then lost his resolve and dropped the hammer.”
During the attack Wood strangled his mother until she almost lost consciousness.
Katherine Dunn, defending, said Wood has since been diagnosed with Aspergers and has been responding well to treatment.
Miss Dunn described the case as “heartbreaking” and said his condition meant he struggled to cope with university life and had an impact on the subsequent violent behaviour.
She added: “He could not bear to tell his parents he had failed and he had not sat his exams.
“He decided he wanted to kill himself and, due to the condition he suffers from, the only logical conclusion he could draw, because he knew his parents would stop him, is that he would have to try and kill his parents first.”
Mr Recorder David Dobbin said the “special circumstances” of the case meant the usual sentencing guidelines for judges did not apply.
He sentenced Wood, who pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, to a community order for 18 months with supervision and mental health treatment.