THE man accused of trying to kill a 96-year-old D Day veteran says he had suffered a nervous breakdown and can't remember much about the incident.

Joseph Isaacs, 40, of no fixed address, denies attempting to murder Jim Booth at his bungalow in Gipsy Lane, Taunton.

But Isaacs admits hitting Mr Booth with a claw hammer and causing some injuries to his head and hands and arms.

His trial at Taunton Crown Court has heard that he has already pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm, aggravated burglary and seven counts of fraud.

The jury was told this afternoon (Wednesday) that Isaacs was reported missing by his mother on November 14, eight days before the attack.

Giving evidence in handcuffs, Isaacs said: "I was seeing my partner and we just broke up and I went for a little ride (in the car) and I had a little breakdown.

"I was sleeping in the car. I spent days in the car or having a walk around in the park...somewhere on my own.

"I was feeling terrible...all over the place."

JIM BOOTH ATTACK: Victim tells court of horrific attack

Isaacs told the court he had not eaten for three or four days and randomly went to Mr Booth's house on November 22 "trying to get some money" by committing a burglary.

"I shouldn't have been in Taunton - I should have gone back to my mum's and got help," said Isaacs.

Isaacs told his defence barrister, Edd Hetherington, that he was hoping no-one was at home when he rang Mr Booth's doorbell.

"If there had been nobody at home, I'd have kncoked the door in and got some money," added Isaccs, who agreed there was no excuse for demanding cash when Mr Booth opened the door.

He initially told Mr Booth he needed some work done on his roof, but walked into his home shouting 'money, money, money' when his offer was turned down.

Once inside, Isaacs told the court: "I hit him. He went back. He went down below the table.

"I saw the (bank) card - (which he admits stealing) - on the table in the living room."

JIM BOOTH ATTACK: Family was told to 'prepare for the worst,' court hears

During his evidence Isaacs repeatedly claimed he had had a breakdown and on several occasions answered questions by saying he could not remember.

But he claimed to have hit Mr Booth on his forehead and back of his head as well his hands three or four times.

"I don't think I hit Mr Booth after I'd seen the card. I can't remember, I'm just guessing," said Isaacs.

"When I left the house, he was up, a bit of blood on his hand. He was walking, he was swaying, but he was up."

But Isaacs, who apologised in court to Mr Booth, who has not attended the hearing, said he knew his victim was not going to die.

Over the following hours, Isaacs used Mr Booth's bank card several times in Bridgwater and Burnham-on-Sea.

He was arrested at 8.45am on November 24 in his car in Congresbury. He initially answered no comment to detectives' questions but later admitted all the charges apart from attempted murder.

Isaacs told Rachel Drake, prosecuting, that he hit Mr Booth "a few times" but could not remember the exact number of times because he'd had a breakdown and the incident was "seven months ago".

Miss Drake responded: "You intended to kill him and thought you had. He was on the ground on the floor with his head under that table."

She said that Isaacs took the bank card after searching two drawers and a bag and also stole a cheque to Mr Booth from his daughter, which was later found in the footwell of his car.

Isaacs said: "I should have gone back to my family. I let myself down, I let my family down."

Isaacs said he chose Mr Booth's house at random, adding: "It could have been anybody.

"I was surprised when Mr Booth answered the door. I panicked.

"I wasn't angry with Mr Booth."

But Miss Drake said Isaacs vented his anger on Mr Booth and hit him a number of times.

She added: "And you kept on hitting him because you wanted to kill him.

"And the only reason you stopped hitting him was because you believed he was dead."

The trial continues tomorrow (Thursday).