Died 28th April 2014
Anne Maguire (61), a school teacher, was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Neville Road, Leeds on 28th April 2014. She was taken to hospital following the attack but later pronounced dead.
A 15-year-old boy was detained by teaching staff and later arrested.
Ms Maguire, a popular Spanish teacher, was stabbed to death in front of pupils. A pupil at the scene told the BBC that children were seen screaming and running from a classroom following the attack.
Ms Maguire is understood to have worked at the school for 40 years. Many floral tributes were placed at the gates of the school by obviously distraught pupils and former pupils. One message read: “To a special teacher. We was all sad about it. I will never forget you.” A service took place at the nearby Catholic church.
In a statement on the council’s website, the school said: “Our school community is in shock today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Pupils paid tribute to Ms Maguire. Aine Arnold (17) said “She was lovely, I can’t believe that anyone wanted to do something so horrible.” adding “It’s more like losing a family member than losing a teacher”. She said “As long as we were happy, she was happy. She would do anything for you. Hers were one of those lessons you didn’t want to miss.”
Matthew Calvert (16) said “She was a fantastic teacher, she couldn’t do enough for people,” adding “She wanted the best for pupils… she was definitely one of the best teachers here.”
Former pupil Kerianne Ayward (17) said: “No-one had a bad word for her – I mean no-one. She was the heart of the school.”
Parent and former pupil, Lisa Lewis, said: “Mrs Maguire was a talented teacher, she was good at music, she taught guitar lessons and Spanish, she was a real asset to the school.
She was very bubbly, outgoing and very popular. Everyone loved her.”
On Twitter, one pupil said Ms Maguire had “made our Year 11 best time of our life, what an amazing woman RIP”. Another said: “I actually feel sick… RIP to probably the best teacher ever.” Stuart Blamire, who attended the school in the 1980s, wrote “RIP Mrs Maguire a great teacher lost for words — feeling sad.” Gee Sharpe posted: “What would even possess someone to hurt Mrs Maguire?! She never did anyone wrong. She was such a wonderful woman.”
Chief Superintendent Paul Money of West Yorkshire Police said the victim received a number of stab wounds and a knife was recovered from the scene. He said “The incident itself was over very quickly and no other pupils or staff were threatened or injured. However this has clearly been a very traumatic situation for those involved,”
He said the attack was an “unprecedented event” and schools in Leeds were “generally very safe places” to work and study. He said that Ms Maguire’s death would “understandably have a massive impact” on her family and the school.
Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central, the constituency in which the college is located, said the killing was “profoundly saddening”, commenting “It is not representative of the college or the community that surrounds it”. He added that while “shocking, terrible” attacks like this were rare, that would be “no comfort” to Ms Maguire’s family.
The Neville Road college has 950 pupils and according to its website retains “traditional values”, describing these as “a strong Christian ethos, a broad and varied curriculum, good teaching and learning, excellent discipline and outstanding pastoral care”.
Journalists made comparisons with the 1995 killing of Philip Lawrence, the head teacher who was killed outside a school in Maida Vale, London. In that case, Mr Lawrence was murdered when he went to help a pupil who was being attacked. The circumstances of the attack on Ms Maguire are not yet known.
The BBC’s Danny Savage said the school was on a large estate to the east of Leeds, describing it as a “good school in what in the past could be regarded as a problematic area overall”.
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: “We are aware of the serious incident at Corpus Christi Catholic College this morning and our thoughts are with all those concerned. We are working with the school to support pupils and staff at this very upsetting time.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the fatal stabbing was “a truly awful thing to have happened to a teacher in the course of her work to educate the next generation”. She added “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. Our condolences go to the family and friends of this teacher, and to students and colleagues at the school.”
Note: This report was drawn from reports on the BBC.
FOD Comment: This killing was repeatedly referred to as an “isolated” or even unique incident. We recognise that it is highly unusual for a teacher to be killed by a pupil. However, the killing of women by men, and regrettably even the killing of older women by teenagers or very young men is far from unique – and often particularly brutal.