Thursday 23 November 2017

'A talented loner with few friends'

GROWING up in the respectable middle-class suburb of Halton in Leeds, the teenager accused of stabbing his teacher to death was a promising student who excelled at art.

He was predicted to achieve good grades in all his GCSE examinations apart from Spanish, the subject taught by Anne Maguire, his alleged victim. However, one fellow pupil claimed he had attempted suicide on at least one occasion.

After his parents split up, he moved into a semi-detached property with his mother, a director of human resources, and his older brother.

His father moved into a cottage about five miles away but neighbours claimed they did not see one another regularly and he is understood to have recently had a son from a new relationship.

Neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac where he lived described the teenager as being extremely withdrawn, claiming he rarely spoke to anyone outside his immediate family. They said he was a loner, who had few friends and never seemed to socialise with other teenagers.

While most 15-year-olds are happy to boast of hundreds of friends on social networking sites, his Facebook page appears stark by comparison. With no Facebook friends listed on the page, it features a pencil drawing of the grim reaper and links to various heavy metal and punk bands.

Jacob Hill (16), of Leeds, a fellow pupil, said: "As far as I was aware he was a nice lad, really clever and always got top grades. He was fine in everything except Spanish. He loved art. He was very talented." A neighbour, who declined to be named, said: "We have two boys around the same age and when they were little they were very close and used to be round here all the time, but then they went to different schools and he just changed and stopped talking to anyone. "Now he doesn't even say hello."

Irish Independent

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