Boy stabbed teacher to avoid lesson

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The Independent Online

A teenage boy who repeatedly stabbed his piano teacher with a carving knife to prove he would prefer to play football was sentenced to six years in youth detention yesterday.

A teenage boy who repeatedly stabbed his piano teacher with a carving knife to prove he would prefer to play football was sentenced to six years in youth detention yesterday.

The boy, aged 14, who cannot be named for legal reasons, produced the knife during a half-hour music lesson with Christina Thomson-Jones, a teacher at Ampleforth College, at her house in Ripon, North Yorkshire. During the lesson, he told her he had a present for her from Cornwall. When she stood up and closed her eyes, he tried to thrust the knife he had stolen from her kitchen into her stomach.

When the knife twisted and broke, he became enraged and chased her through the house and garden, eventually inflicting a total of 11 wounds, including puncturing her cheek and badly scarring her face.

The boy admitted wounding with intent and told the police he had only meant to cut her arm to convince his parents he wanted to give up one of his instruments to play football.

Andrew Campbell QC, for the prosecution, told Middlesbrough Crown Court the boy had begun learning the organ - as well as the piano and trumpet, which were taught by Mrs Thomson-Jones. In February, he told his organ teacher he wanted to give up one of the other instruments.

On the day of the attack , the teenager walked to MrsThomson-Jones's house and while he waited to be called in for his lesson, went into her kitchen and stole a knife, which he hid in his music case. During the lesson, he offered her a "surprise" present from his mother.

Mr Campbell told the court: "Far from giving her the present as intimated, unseen by her he had taken the knife from his case and then, without further words, tried to plunge it into her stomach." And after it broke on impact, he lashed out in "a sustained and extremely violent attack".

Despite pleas from Peter Collier QC, for the defence, that the boy had had a very difficult upbringing, Judge Peter Fox said the boy was very dangerous. He added: "To some extent I give you some credit for your plea of guilty, but I'm not at all sure about your expressions of regret. You've got a terrible lot to learn."

After the case Mrs Thomson-Jones said she had feared for her life during the attack, which had left her afraid of the dark. "I feel two things towards the boy. I was very fond of him because he was a very talented musician, and I had taught him for seven years. But I also feel scared of him."

She added: "I have the picture of what happened in my mind and it won't go away. I see his face in front of me [and see him] holding the knife. I feel very sorry for his parents."

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