Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ann Maguire murder: Attack on teacher 'not predictable'

Ann Maguire Image copyright Maguire family
Image caption Ann Maguire, who taught Spanish, was stabbed in her own classroom

No-one could have predicted or prevented the classroom murder of teacher Ann Maguire, a report has said.

Mrs Maguire, 61, was stabbed to death by student Will Cornick at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in 2014.

The Leeds Safeguarding Children's Board review said Cornick spoke of an "adrenaline rush" and "good times" after stabbing his Spanish teacher.

He was detained for a minimum of 20 years after admitting murder.

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Cornick, who was 15 at the time of the murder, told the report's author, Nick Page, he had gone to his Spanish class in "a red mist, not conscious of his surroundings".

Earlier he had packed a rucksack containing two knives.

'Dark humour'

He approached Mrs Maguire from behind and stabbed her in the upper back and neck seven times in front of "a large number of pupils".

The teenager then pursued her as she fled from the classroom and continued his attack, before being restrained by members of staff.

Mr Page found there had been no "credible warning signs" that could have been picked up by the school about Cornick's behaviour. The report went on to say it was an "unprecedented emergency situation".

However, no-one had realised the "deep antipathy" Cornick had developed towards Mrs Maguire over two years.

Threats made on social media and to his fellow pupils were viewed by them as "fantasy", the report said.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Cornick described being in a "red mist" ahead of stabbing Mrs Maguire

Report recommendations

  • Information about pupils should be recorded and shared
  • Schools should emphasise to all children and young people they can share concerns for another pupil or teacher's welfare with staff
  • Leeds City Council and other educational establishments' regulatory bodies to review safety planning and health and safety audits
  • When commissioning therapeutic support for staff and service users, it should be accepted that support may be needed for a number of years
  • The speed of social media means information, sometimes inaccurate, puts pressure on decision making
  • In responding to a critical incident in a school, or other such organisations, agencies should ensure that head teachers or organisational managers receive full information... as well as individual support
  • Leeds City Council should consider recommending that national quality standards for the commissioning of reviews of critical incidents be established

Mr Page said: "Will's school friends and peers considered that he had a dark sense of humour and could talk very negatively and unkindly about people he did not like.

"None of the young people in the class or friendship group who heard Will talk about killing Ann, and were told about or shown the knives he had brought into school on 28 April 2014, had believed that he would actually carry out an assault."

He said staff had "acted instinctively and demonstrated initiative and bravery" during and immediately after the attack on Mrs Maguire.

Mark Peel, independent chairman of the safeguarding board, said: "It is also reassuring that this outcome of the learning lessons review is in agreement with the findings of the court, in that this tragic incident could not have been foreseen or prevented, and that the only person responsible for Ann Maguire's death has been punished accordingly."

Mrs Maguire's family, who have previously called for a full public inquiry, said they would need time to consider the findings before commenting, but added the review "appears to be significantly different from an early draft report which we viewed some months ago".

Ian Murch, National Union of Teachers' treasurer, said it was important to look for warning signs.

He said: "You can't develop big security systems for every school in the country because of an incident which will happen once in twenty years, maybe not even that."

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