'Culture of fighting' at murder case school

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A "culture of fighting" among boys at a comprehensive school led to the murder of a 14-year-old pupil, an inquiry has ruled.

A "culture of fighting" among boys at a comprehensive school led to the murder of a 14-year-old pupil, an inquiry has ruled.

Alan Pennell, the killer of Luke Walmsley, a pupil at Birkbeck School, Lincolnshire, felt pressured by his peers to fight when he stabbed Luke, according to the inquiry team set up by the local child-protection committee.

The report pointed out that concerns voiced by police and a welfare office about Pennell before the stabbing in November 2003 had not been recorded and so the murder could not have been predicted. It agreed with the head's assessment that Pennell "did not meet the threshold for permanent exclusion" for past unruly behaviour.

Paul Tudor, the author of the report, said: "The interaction between Alan and Luke and other male young people represented altercations and a culture of fighting and some violence. For Alan, fuelled by peer processes, these dynamics became unmanageable and were tragically played out in school."

Luke's parents criticised the report, saying it made excuses for Pennell's actions. Pennell was jailed for life last July.

Comments