Wales school stabbing: Deputy head and special needs teacher among victims of attack

Fiona Elias phoned her father to say she had ‘superficial wounds’ to her hands

Holly Evans
Thursday 25 April 2024 12:32 BST
Fiona Elias (left) and Liz Hawkin were injured in the triple stabbing
Fiona Elias (left) and Liz Hawkin were injured in the triple stabbing (Supplied)

A deputy head teacher was left with wounds to her hands after an incident in a Welsh secondary school saw three people injured in a triple stabbing.

Fiona Elias was taken to hospital alongside another teacher and a female pupil after a fight broke out on the playground of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Carmarthenshire at the end of the morning break.

Her father, John Owen, spoke to her in the aftermath of the attack and said that she had suffered “superficial” injuries.

He told The Times: “Obviously I was extremely worried when I found out there had been an attack at the school. She phoned me at about 3pm to say she had superficial wounds to her hand.”

The other teacher injured in the attack has been reported to be Liz Hawkin, a special needs learning teacher.

Deputy head teacher Fiona Elias suffered injuries to her hand
Deputy head teacher Fiona Elias suffered injuries to her hand (Supplied)

A teenage girl has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in police custody.

Jonathan Edwards, the Independent MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said that two teachers had been taken to hospital, with one airlifted to Cardiff as the “situation is far more serious”.

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed that the three victims, which include a teenager, received stab wounds but that their injuries are not-life threatening.

One teacher, Darrel Campbell, has been praised for his brave response after he reportedly entered the fray, disarmed the alleged attacker and put her in an armlock ahead of emergency services arriving.

Mr Campbell, who is said to be the chairman of a local rugby club, was not harmed in the incident, and helped contain the situation until the emergency services arrived.

Scene outside Ysgol Dyffryn Aman on Wednesday
Scene outside Ysgol Dyffryn Aman on Wednesday (Robert Melen/Shutterstock)

The south-west Wales school was placed into lockdown for several hours before pupils were able to leave at about 3.20pm, and remains closed today.

Parents who gathered outside the school as news of the incident emerged were seen tearfully hugging their children after they walked through the gates.

In a statement on the school’s website, headteacher James Durbridge praised staff and pupils for their “calm and mature response” to the lockdown.

Police have asked for footage of the incident, circulating on social media, to be removed to avoid distress to those affected.

The force has also asked people not to speculate while their investigation is ongoing.

Dafydd Llywelyn, police and crime commissioner for Dyfed-Powys, said he was deeply shocked.

Pupils spent the afternoon in lockdown while police dealt with the incident
Pupils spent the afternoon in lockdown while police dealt with the incident (Robert Melen/Shutterstock)

Mr Llywelyn said: “My thoughts go out to all those affected, including the pupils, teachers and staff who were involved or witnessed this terrifying ordeal. Our thoughts are also with the families and friends of those injured.

Mair Wyn, who has been a governor at Amman Valley School for 34 years, said “times have changed” and “a teacher’s job is very dangerous”.

She said: “It is a complete shock for the community.

“It’s an excellent school, the pupils are such lovely children and I can’t understand why this issue has happened, it’s unbelievable really.”

She added: “It’s a very big concern what the future will hold. The discipline has gone from schools. Times have changed. Things are happening now, a teacher’s job is very dangerous.

Politicians across Wales and the UK have described their shock at what happened, with Rishi Sunak thanking the police and emergency services for their work.

First Minister Vaughan Gething also posted on X, formerly Twitter, that it was a “deeply worrying time for the school, families and community”.

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