Family faces schoolboy (15) accused of teacher murder
Published 02/05/2014 | 02:30
The family of Ann Maguire came face to face yesterday with the alleged killer of the woman they called their "shining light".
It was their first appearance in public since the devoted wife, mother and teacher was stabbed in front of her pupils on Monday at the Catholic school where she worked for 40 years.
Those who know her best have spoken of the love she shared with Donald, her husband of 37 years, and their two daughters, Kerry (32) and Emm (30) a soloist with the Royal Ballet.
On the most testing of days, that bond was clear. They arrived at Leeds youth court in the morning to see the 15-year-old schoolboy, who legally cannot be named, appear to be charged with her murder.
Mr Maguire, his daughters' hands clutched tightly in his, stared straight at the teenager as the boy was led into the glass-fronted dock. He did not take his eyes off the 15-year-old throughout the two-minute proceedings.
All the family were dressed in black. Despite the undoubted strain, they remained composed and dignified.
Daniel, one of the two nephews Mrs Maguire brought up as her own after her sister died in 1986, was also in court. That he has said he regards her as his mother says everything about the woman described in a statement earlier in the day as "a loving wife, the best mother, a treasured sister, a true friend".
The accused, one arm in a cast, was dressed in a dark blue tracksuit. His hair was styled into a floppy fringe. When he emerged into the dock at Court 20, his eyes flitted across the packed public gallery before finding his parents, to whom he nodded. His father, in a dark grey suit, gripped his jaw and visibly struggled to contain his emotions as the charge was read out.
The boy spoke four times to say "yes", as the court clerk asked if he understood the charge and to confirm personal details. He was remanded in youth detention and will appear at Leeds Crown Court by video link. Nearly an hour after proceedings, when the narrow street outside was no longer packed with journalists, the parents of the alleged killer left the court. They clutched each other for support before being driven away in an unmarked police car.
The Maguires said in their earlier statement that the family had been overwhelmed by the tributes to their wife and mother and that they had been "a source of great comfort at this dark time".
In the afternoon drizzle they visited the gates of the city's Corpus Christi Catholic College, where what they described as this "horrific happening" occurred, and where so many who were taught by Ann Maguire, who, at 61, was weeks from retiring, have come to pay their respects.
Mr Maguire and his children laid lilies, sunflowers, and gerberas at the entrance, before walking slowly to the neighbouring church where they lit a candle for her and prayed for close to an hour.
As he led his family out, Mr Maguire was gripped around the shoulder by Deacon Sean Quigley. "I told them that they are surrounded by a sea of love," Deacon Quigley said.
On the walk back to their car, arm-in-arm past the hundreds of cards and bouquets, that love was clear. Of a family and of a community, grieving together in the most appalling of circumstances. (© Daily Telegraph, London)