Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ann Maguire murder: Will Cornick sentenced to life

Will Cornick Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Will Cornick killed Ann Maguire at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds

A 16-year-old boy has been given a life sentence after he admitted murdering Leeds teacher Ann Maguire.

Will Cornick stabbed Mrs Maguire, 61, seven times in the back and neck at Corpus Christi Catholic College, then sat down and said "good times".

Leeds Crown Court heard he had told other pupils he hated Mrs Maguire.

The judge said he had shown a "chilling lack of remorse" and ordered him to serve at least 20 years, saying he might never be released.

Mrs Maguire's family said they were "looking to the future with a fragile hope".

No emotion

Cornick, who was 15 when he killed Mrs Maguire in April, had not been named because of his age but judge Mr Justice Coulson lifted an order banning his identification.

Earlier the teenager stood in the dock flanked by two prison officers as the clerk read out the charge.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Ann Maguire had been a teacher at the school for 40 years

He looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as he admitted murdering Mrs Maguire. The Spanish teacher suffered seven stab wounds to her back and neck.

Mr Justice Coulson said it was "quite possible" Cornick would never be released.

Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC told the court the boy had "psychopathic tendencies" and had derived pleasure from the public nature of the killing, something the judge referred to as "truly grotesque".

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Media captionAnn Maguire's sisters Shelagh Connor and Denise Courtney made statements outside court

He told the court pupils had noticed disturbing aspects to Cornick's personality.

Cornick told other children he hated Mrs Maguire and wanted her dead, writing on Facebook that she "deserves more than death, more than pain and more than anything that we can understand".

Image copyright CPS/PA
Image caption Will Cornick attacked Ann Maguire in front of a classroom of students at Corpus Christi College

The prosecutor said: "Late on the night of Christmas Eve 2013, and into the early hours of Christmas Day, the defendant exchanged messages with a friend on Facebook.

"In those messages he spoke of 'brutally killing' Mrs Maguire and spending the rest of his life in jail so as not to have to worry about life or money."

The court heard Mrs Maguire had been leaning over her desk helping a girl with her work when the boy attacked her from behind after winking at another pupil in the classroom.

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Media captionChief Supt Paul Money said the murder of Ann Maguire was a ''cold blooded, brutal and cowardly attack''

"The defendant approached his teacher and began to stab her in the neck and back," said Mr Greaney.

"Ann Maguire was 61 years of age, 5ft 2in in height and of slim build.

"The defendant was a full foot taller and was armed with a large kitchen knife.

"To describe his attack as cowardly hardly does it justice."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Floral tributes were left outside Corpus Christi School after the attack

The prosecutor said Mrs Maguire fled but was chased by Cornick, who was "stabbing her as she sought to escape".

'Proud of what he did'

Mrs Maguire was stabbed seven times before colleague Susan Francis, alerted by children screaming, rushed her friend into a work room and held the door shut.

Mr Greaney said: "She was able to see the boy through a glass panel in the door. His face was emotionless and he then walked away."

Cornick went back to the classroom and sat down "as if nothing had happened", the prosecutor told the court.

"He said that he had stabbed Mrs Maguire," said Mr Greaney. "He added that it was a pity she was not dead.

"He said to the entire class 'good times' and spoke of an adrenaline rush."

The boy told a psychiatrist after the killing that he had a "sense of pride" in killing Mrs Maguire, the court heard.

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Media captionHead teacher Steve Mort called the murder of Ann Maguire "shocking and unprecedented"

Mr Greaney said when the expert asked about the impact on Mrs Maguire's family, Cornick replied: "I know the victim's family will be upset but I don't care.

"In my eyes, everything I've done is fine and dandy."

"It's kill or be killed. I did not have a choice. It was kill her or suicide."

'Responsible parents'

But the prosecutor said the teenager's actions were still "inexplicable".

"The parents are decent people and responsible parents," he said. "They are at a loss to understand how and why their son has turned out as he has and they have co-operated fully with the police and with the prosecution.

"It follows that this is not one of those cases in which a defendant's actions may find a degree of explanation in his family circumstances."

Ch Supt Paul Money, of West Yorkshire Police, said no person acting in authority could have foreseen the "cold-blooded" and "cowardly" murder.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Don Maguire, the husband of murdered teacher Ann Maguire, described the attack as "evil"

Mrs Maguire had worked at the school for more than 40 years and had been due to retire.

In a statement read to the court, Mrs Maguire's widower Don described the attack as a "monumental act of cowardice and evil".

Her sister Denise Courtenay said: "We will never recover from this pain and anguish.

"No amount of punishment can compensate us for what we have lost."

Image copyright julia quenzler

Speaking after Cornick had been sentenced, Nigel Richardson, head of children's services at Leeds City Council, said everyone's thoughts were with Mrs Maguire's family, friends and colleagues.

He said her "lasting legacy" would be felt across the local community and throughout Leeds.

Steve Mort, head teacher of Corpus Christi Catholic College, said: "I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all our staff and students, present and past, for the way that they have coped and continue to cope with this shocking and unprecedented incident.

"I would also like to say thank you for the amazing tributes and messages of sympathy and support that we have received in school from across Leeds, from around the country and from far further afield.

"We have drawn great strength and comfort from these and from our shared faith, and we continue to remember Ann and her family in our prayers."

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