Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ann Maguire stabbing: Leeds estate 'will rise above killing'

Image caption The number of floral tributes being laid outside Corpus Christi school in memory of teacher Ann Maguire continues to rise

Through the closed gates at Corpus Christi Catholic College on the Halton Moor estate in Leeds, students and teachers can be glimpsed apparently going about their normal school day.

It is only outside those gates that the degree of shock in the local community over the killing of 61-year-old teacher Ann Maguire in one of the school's classrooms becomes clear.

Ever since Mrs Maguire was stabbed to death on Monday, row after row of floral tributes have been laid by pupils, former pupils and local residents, standing in stark contrast to the school's grey metal railings.

"People say that Halton Moor has a bit of a stigma but the school itself has always been a brilliant school," said Tracey Clough.

Image caption Irene Deyes said Ann Maguire's killing was "shocking" but did not reflect life on the Halton Moor estate

Pushing her young daughter in a pram, she had just added to those tributes and lit a candle at the nearby Corpus Christi church in memory of Mrs Maguire, who had been at the school for more than 40 years and taught Spanish, among other subjects.

"It's a Catholic school, it's got good Ofsted reports, it's fantastic," she said. "And Mrs Maguire was a lovely woman."

Louise Brownlow, accompanying Mrs Clough, said the atmosphere on the Halton Moor estate was currently "a bit surreal".

"It's just such a sad thing to happen on your doorstep. What those children in school have witnessed, well, it's just so sad."

Mrs Maguire had taught many of her friends in the past, said Mrs Brownlow.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Pupils and staff from Corpus Christi Catholic College took part in a mass for Ann Maguire at the nearby church on Halton Moor

"It's so sad for them. She taught them a long time ago, 25 to 30 years ago, but they remember her and they remember her being such a lovely teacher.

"She was always going round singing between classes. She just seemed such a happy teacher.

"But it's at times like this that you realise what a good community you have got. When you see the tributes and the memorial service at the church last night, it's quite humbling to watch a community pull together but unfortunately in such sad circumstances."

Ken Church, who can see the college from his garden on the Halton Moor estate, said he heard the "totally shocking" news of Mrs Maguire's death from schoolchildren, while travelling on a bus.

Mrs Maguire had a great reputation not just among her pupils and former pupils, but also in the wider community, said Mr Church.

"I've seen her around, up and down from the shops and on the estate. She was well-liked. She must really have liked teaching," he said.

Irene Deyes, on her way to the post office just around the corner from the college, said two of her grandsons were pupils at the school and it played a big role in life on Halton Moor.

Despite its "shocking" nature, she stressed the death of Mrs Maguire should not be used to damage the reputation of the estate.

"Everybody on the estate knows everybody - if not by name then by sight," she said.

"Everybody looks after everybody, and for somebody who lives on their own there is always somebody going past and checking you're all right."

Image caption Ted Barnes, who runs Corpus Christi Catholic Men's Club, said Ann Maguire had taught many generations of pupils at the nearby school

Ted Barnes, who runs the nearby Corpus Christi Catholic Men's Club with his wife Lesley, said several young people working at the club were taught by Mrs Maguire.

But however devastating the teacher's killing has been, Halton Moor was "that sort of community that will rise above it", he said.

"We've a lot of people of different origins here and we just get along. This [death] is not part and parcel of everyday life, is it?"

A 15-year-old boy remains in custody at a police station Leeds after being arrested in connection with Mrs Maguire's killing.

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