Ann Maguire stabbing: Leeds school 'to open as usual' as police continue to hold teenager

Ann Maguire – described by her beloved pupils as ‘the school’s own mother’ – devoted her life to education. But on Monday, at her Catholic college in Leeds, a 15-year-old boy allegedly entered the room, pulled out  a knife, and repeatedly stabbed the married 61-year-old. Never before has a British teacher been killed in front of a class full of students

The school in Leeds where an inspirational and dedicated teacher was stabbed to death in front of terrified pupils 'opened as usual' today as police continued to question a 15-year-old pupil over the killing.

Staff and students at the school were today gathering to pay tribute Ann Maguire, 61, who was repeatedly stabbed in front of pupils at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds yesterday morning.

She had taught in the Leeds school for the entirety of her career and was only months away from taking retirement.

Police confirmed that a post mortem had shown the RE and Spanish teacher had died of multiple stab wounds.

Officers are continuing to interview 15-year-old pupil in relation to her death. They stressed that the stabbing was an isolated incident.

Mrs Maguire, who is believed have two grown-up daughters, is the first teacher to die in the course of their duties since Gwen Mayor was killed alongside 16 pupils in the gym at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland in 1996.  A year earlier, headmaster Philip Lawrence was killed outside his school in west London.

Her tragic death – which is believed to be the first killing in a British classroom in modern times – has drawn emotional tributes from pupils and former students, as well as from David Cameron, who spoke of his “deep shock”.

The attack is a harrowing illustration of the challenges facing teachers in Britain’s schools, where recent figures showed that nearly 1,000 students were caught with lethal weapons such as guns, knives, axes and hammers between 2011 and 2013.

According to the Department for Education, 550 pupils a year in England are permanently excluded from school for physical attacks on staff.

Anne Maguire was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College (PA) Anne Maguire was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College (PA)

Police said Mrs Maguire, a married former head of Year 11, had been stabbed a number of times. Many described her as “the school’s mother” who had joined the college straight after university and devoted her life to the welfare of pupils, staying in touch with many long after they had left.

Officers said Mrs Maguire’s attacker was overpowered by teachers and arrested at the scene. Fellow staff members were said to be in shock at the loss of the popular colleague. The 15-year-old is currently being questioned by detectives from West Yorkshire Police.

Pupils described hearing screams reverberating around the building when the attack happened, shattering the routine of the school day at around 11.45am.

Those attending the lesson were preparing for their Spanish GCSE in three weeks.

The attacker is said to have left the classroom after asking to do some printing.

Returning a few minutes later he allegedly produced a knife, lunging at the teacher in front of the horrified class.

A nun comforts students outside the college (Getty) A nun comforts students outside the college (Getty)

Mrs Maguire was taken to hospital by paramedics but later died from her injuries. Witnesses were receiving counselling after describing their ordeal to police.

Last night, hundreds of pupils, former students and their parents crammed into the pews of the Corpus Christi Church, next to the school.

There was no formal service but teenagers hugged each and some lit candles as they wiped away tears.

A few yards outside, scores more youngsters gathered around hundreds of floral tributes which have been placed at the school gates.

Some teenagers pinned photographs to the railings, along with teddies and other memorabilia.

This morning around 150 people gathered at Corpus Christi Church, which is connected to the school where she taught for more than 40 years.

Many of the popular teacher's pupils were among the congregation, although current pupils did not attend.

Julian Stanley, chief executive of the Teacher Support Network, said 48 per cent of teachers nationwide had either been assaulted or threatened by pupils, according to a recent survey carried out by the charity.

In Yorkshire and Humberside the figure was 51 per cent.

“That any teacher could be attacked by a pupil is almost unconscionable,” he said.

Mr Stanley called for a zero-tolerance approach to weapons in schools.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “This is a truly awful thing to have happened to a teacher in the course of her work to educate the next generation.

“Appalling events like this are thankfully very rare indeed but the death of any teacher in her place of work, which should be a place of safety, is devastating.”

Corpus Christi College in Leeds has 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16 Corpus Christi College in Leeds has 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16

It is understood the 15-year-old had a series of arguments with the deeply admired Spanish, RE and music teacher leading up to the tragedy.

The teenager was said to have received treatment for depression and had recently experienced family troubles, falling out with his father.

Some pupils claimed he had been drinking and that bottles of alcohol were recovered.

Pupils were kept in school for the rest of the day and lessons carried on as usual following the incident.

Corpus Christi has 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16 and is described as having “a strong Christian and community ethos” with close links to the Catholic Church.

Pupils said security at Corpus Christi was good. Aine Arnold, 17, whose mother, aunt and sister were all taught there, said swipe cards were needed to get access into the building.

“There are always staff in the playground or in the corridors.

“Everywhere you went they would want to know what you are doing and where you are going.”

West Yorkshire Police described the killing as an “unprecedented event” in the city. Corpus Christi had been part of a city-wide Safer Schools Programme.

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