To his loving and supportive family, committed teachers and classmates Will Cornick bore all the hallmarks of a typical teenager.
Quietly spoken but academically successful he was a young man on the brink of adulthood. There had been troubles in the past, and some considered him to be a little withdrawn.
But no one, it seems, knew or could believe that inside the mind of the strapping 6ft 2in teenager burned a deep-seated and irrational hatred of a popular teacher whose life he was to cut brutally short.
In the first murder of a teacher by a pupil in a British classroom, Cornick, aged just 15, unleashed a frenzied attack on Ann Maguire in April – a killing it was later to emerge he had planned for months in advance, and which he hoped to celebrate with a bottle of Jack Daniels smuggled into the Roman Catholic school he attended in Leeds.
Today Cornick, who had no previous criminal convictions, was told by a judge at Leeds Crown Court that he would most likely die in jail as he was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years after admitting the murder of Mrs Maguire and showing a chilling lack of remorse for his actions.
Following the attack he told psychiatrists he “could not give a s**t” about the grief of his victim’s family.
“I know [they] will be upset but I don't care. In my eyes, everything I've done is fine and dandy,” he told experts. Mrs Maguire’s family described the attack as a “monumental act of cowardice and evil”.
The killing took place in front of traumatised classmates who screamed in terror and panic as they watched their classmate wink at another boy before approaching the Spanish teacher – known by all as the “mother of the school” for her decades of loyal service in which she had shepherded generations of pupils through their exams.
The youngster was a foot taller than his slightly built victim, towering over her as she helped other pupils with their work. After stabbing her seven times in the neck and back from behind, wounds described as the most horrific ever seen by one paramedic, he gave chase – but was blocked by the heroic actions of another teacher who tried to usher her to safety.
He then sat down telling classmates it was a “pity” that she had not died instantly. Pupils described how the boy appeared pleased with what he had done and declared “good times”.
Despite suffering from an adjustment disorder and having psychopathic elements to his personality, his mental condition was not considered sufficient to mitigate the horror of his crime.
Mrs Maguire’s murder led to a huge outpouring of national grief and sparked a renewed debate on classroom safety.
But it emerged that neither the authorities, nor his “decent and responsible” parents had any idea the youngster had developed an “inexplicable” murderous antipathy towards Mrs Maguire, 61, who had taught at the successful and popular Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds for 40 years, and was due to take retirement at the end of the last academic year.