Thursday 22 August 2019

Teenage murderer of teacher told ten friends 'precisely' what he planned to do and offered pal €11 to kill her

Ann Maguire
Ann Maguire

Victoria Ward

A 15-year-old who murdered teacher Ann Maguire had told ten other pupils “precisely” what he planned to do and offered one boy £10 (€11.25) to kill her for him, an inquest has heard.

Will Cornick, who was obsessed with a song associated with a killing spree in Pulp Fiction, “ambushed” Mrs Maguire, 61, from behind with a kitchen knife, ensuring she “stood absolutely no chance whatsoever."

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen told an inquest jury that on the morning of the murder,  Cornick, who is now 19, had told “at least 10 other pupils,” including the head boy, exactly what he was going to do, showing some of them the knife and asking one boy to film the attack on his mobile phone.

However, he insisted it would be wrong to ask those pupils why they did not report what Cornick had said, suggesting that her family, who lost an Appeal Court challenge to the coroner's decision not to call evidence from them, were seeking the wrong information.

"It would be wholly wrong to sit here and raise that perhaps all this could have been avoided if a 15-year-old boy had told the teacher,” he said.

”It was abundantly clear to all of them that had they raised the alarm this could have been stopped.”

A tribute to Ann Maguire
A tribute to Ann Maguire

Read More: Killer pupil (15) the only one to blame for teacher's murder - review finds

Mrs Maguire’s husband, Don, her two daughters, Kerry, an osteopath, and Emma, 33, a soloist with the Royal Ballet, and two nephews that she had raised following the death of her sister, have campaigned for further investigation into her murder at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, in April 2014, and believe more could have been done to prevent it.

They expressed disappointment earlier this year that certain evidence would not be reviewed at the inquest but remain hopeful that it will answer questions about whether the murder could have been prevented and whether lessons could be learned.

Mr Maguire, a company director, said he could not come to terms with the prevailing "narrative" that there was "no explanation and no logic" to what Cornick had done.

He was critical of what he said was the poor quality of the Learning Lessons Review published by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board following the tragedy, saying there should have been a full Serious Case Review, given that it was the first time a teacher had been murdered in a classroom by a pupil.

He said he knew the reasons behind what Cornick did it were complex, but they needed to be examined thoroughly.

Nick Armstrong, representing the Maguire family, said there was “no question of the family apportioning blame” but asked Det Supt Wallen if he was surprised that the boys did not report what they had heard to teachers.

Read More: Boy (16) sentenced to life for murder of teacher Ann Maguire is named

Det Supt Wallen said none of the children took him seriously because Cornick was “prone to say things that weren't true,” adding that "with hindsight" the police, the school and Cornick's parents would have stopped him.

"We cannot, from what happened, have foreseen this enormous crescendo of rage and violence that took place on that day,” he said.

The jury, sitting at Wakefield Coroners' Court, West Yorkshire, heard that Mrs Maguire’s murder was a “completely irrational act stemming from a deep seated grudge.”

Cornick, who was described as a "strapping lad,” stabbed his "petite" victim eight times with the kitchen knife he had brought from home, including one blow which cut her jugular vein.

Facebook messages exchanged with another pupil around Christmas 2013, demonstrated his "hatred" for Mrs Maguire and revealed long held plans to attack her.

He had once stormed out of a meeting when the “highly regarded” teacher, who had worked at the school for 41 years, refused to let him drop Spanish.

But Det Supt no one could have foreseen the “sheer horror” of what would take place.

Cornick, who has shown no remorse for his actions, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum tariff of 20 years.

Ann Maguire
Ann Maguire

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