Teen (15) arrested after teacher stabbed to death
Published 28/04/2014 | 14:33
A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a woman teacher was stabbed to death at a school.
The member of staff at Corpus Christi Catholic College, in Neville Road, Leeds, was fatally injured this morning.
West Yorkshire Police detectives said a 15-year-old male pupil was arrested in connection with the incident and is in custody.
Detective superintendent Simon Beldon said there was no ongoing risk to pupils or staff and that the school was "continuing to operate as normal".
He said: "The situation is under control and officers, including safer schools officers and members of the local neighbourhood policing team, are currently at the school and are liaising closely with staff.
"The rest of the school is continuing to operate as normal and we would ask that parents do not attend the site unless directly requested to do so by the school.
"Our inquiries are at a very early stage but the full circumstances of this incident will obviously be the subject of a full and thorough investigation."
Police were called to the school at 11.48am after they were contacted by the ambulance service following a report that a member of staff had been stabbed.
The woman was taken to hospital for treatment but was subsequently pronounced dead, police said.
Tonight, hundreds of pupils, former students and their parents crammed into the pews of the Corpus Christi church.
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 the floral memorial to Mrs Maguire which has grown to more than 100 bunches of flowers in the last two hours.
Some teenagers pinned photographs to the railings, with teddies and other memorabilia.
One note said: "You inspired countless generations. You taught four generations of our family and you were simply a totally fantastic teacher, always caring and always there to make us smile (even if you were speaking Spanish)."
Katie Gallagher, 15, said she was in a nearby room when Mrs Maguire was stabbed.
She said: "I heard her scream. I was in a meeting at the time but I heard it."
She said the incident happened in a normal Spanish class with around 30 children witnessing what happened. Everyone in her class burst into tears when they were told about the teacher's death.
Her sister Becky Gallagher, 20, said she left the school in 2010. "I just think it's a shame for all the pupils' future who won't get to be taught by her."
There are nearly 1,000 pupils on the roll aged between 11 and 16, according to the school's website.
It also has "a strong Christian and community ethos".
The website adds: "The school has a very good pastoral structure, which it is committed to keeping and teachers receive very good back-up support."
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. We wish to reassure people that this was an isolated incident and there is no ongoing risk to pupils or staff at the school.
"We are working closely with the police and helping with their investigation."
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. Our condolences go to the family and friends of this teacher, and to students and colleagues at the school.
"The NUT will provide any help and assistance we can possibly offer to Corpus Christi Catholic College and its community."
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: "We are shocked and saddened to hear the news that a teacher has been stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.
"Our thoughts are with her family, her colleagues and the students of the school.
"Teachers carry a great weight for our society and we owe them so much. It is terrible that they should be asked to pay this price too. We know that the close community of schools in Leeds will rally round to offer colleagues their support."
Pupil Georgina Kilroy, 16, said the woman had been a teacher for 40 years.
Speaking outside the school, she said: "I don't know anyone who didn't like her. She was spot on. You couldn't ask for a better teacher."
Georgina said her teacher broke down when she told the children the news. She said that before then they were told a teacher had gone to hospital but lessons continued.
Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central, described the incident as "profoundly saddening" but said he was not in favour of stringent security measures that would keep staff and pupils "behind high fences".
He told BBC News: "Most people are good and most people try and do the right thing.
"This is not representative of the college, of the community that surrounds it, the families that send their children to school and the city itself. But it is profoundly saddening."
He added: "Schools are places of learning. We want our schools to be open - we don't want to lock pupils and staff behind high fences."
Downing Street described the stabbing as "appalling".
"The Prime Minister's thoughts are very much with the victim's relatives as well as the entire school community there, which I'm sure will be deeply shocked," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.
Pupils had earlier began leaving flowers at the school gate.
The message with the first bunch read: "To a special teacher. We was all sad about it. I will never forget you."
Kerrianne Ayward, 17, said: "She was just lovely. She was helpful and caring and you could have a laugh with her.
"She was always there for you, even if she didn't know you very well. No one had a bad word for her - I mean no one."
Kerrianne, who left the school two years ago, said: "She's been my referee for everything, college, everything.
"There's no one else you would go to who's better. She was the heart of the school."
Another former pupil, Peter Masefield, 18, said: "I just can't understand why her. Of all people. She was the school's figurehead."
The victim was named locally as Anne Maguire, a long-serving member of staff.
Writing on the website RateMyTeachers.com, one former pupil said: "She's like the school's own mother! Can be very strict but if you're nice to her she will always be there for you, a great woman!"
Another added: "I think she's a good head of year, she's always there if you need someone to talk to :)"
Writing on a Facebook page dedicated to the school, contributors described the teacher as "a legend" and a "lovely lady".
Laying flowers, former pupil Aine Arnold, 17, said: "It's more like losing a family member than losing a teacher.
"As long as we were happy, she was happy. She would do anything for you.
"She helped me personally a lot. She's going to be such a loss to the school. Hers were one of those lessons you didn't want to miss.
"She was just lovely. She was wonderful. I am devastated."
Samuel Dasaolu was a pupil at the school until 2011 and paid tribute to the teacher, who taught him Spanish and Religious Education.
He said: "I felt like she was almost a mother figure of the school. I felt I could go and talk to her. She made everybody feel so comfortable."
The 18-year-old said he never heard about pupils carrying weapons when he was at the school.
"I can't get my head around the fact that somebody would do that. Everybody loved her and respected her," he said.
Mr Dasaolu, who is studying accounting and finance at De Montfort University, Leicester, went on: "She never jumped to conclusions. I remember there was a disagreement between a student and another student. Usually most teachers would pick a side or say 'You're both in detention'. But she listened to them and discussed the situation."
He added: "She was a teacher that was loved by everybody. You didn't have to be a good student to love her."