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Family of Murdered Leeds Teacher Call For Independent Review Of Evidence

Campaign For Inquiry So That Lessons Can Be Learnt From Horrific Attack


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The family of Ann Maguire, a teacher who was stabbed to death at the Leeds school where she worked in 2014 are calling for an independent inquiry into the horrific incident so that it can be properly investigated and clear lessons learnt to protect others.

Ann’s husband Don Maguire and his family are seeking to have Ann’s death properly reviewed by the public bodies that have the power and duty to do so. They want to know whether more could have been done to prevent her death and the evidence was never fully reviewed at a criminal trial because the murderer pleaded guilty.

Ann, who was 61 when she died, taught at Corpus Christi Catholic College for 40 years but in April last year, she was stabbed to death by a pupil while teaching. The planned attack took place in the classroom in front of many other pupils as she was helping pupils prepare for their forthcoming exams. 

The perpetrator, William "Will" Cornick, who was 15 years old when he committed the murder, was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years at Leeds Crown Court on 3 November 2014.

The family is taking steps to get the inquiry underway but needs to raise substantial funds to cover the costs needed to help professional legal experts seek an independent review of the circumstances that led up to Ann’s tragic death. They have set up a crowdfunding website to help raise the necessary funds.

Don Maguire and his family have suffered a terrible and tragic loss when Ann was killed by a student in the classroom. He said: “We know an independent inquiry won’t bring Ann back but it will give us peace to know whether there was anything which could have been done to prevent her death so that other families don’t have to suffer like us in future.

“At the court hearing last year there was a guilty plea and  so there was never a full criminal trial which went through all the evidence. There has never been a full inquest and we asked the Leeds Safeguarding and Children’s Board to hold a Serious Case Review to examine all the facts, but they have declined to initiate this and instead are undertaking a local review. There needs to be a greater understanding and this local review doesn't even acknowledge Ann's murder as a "serious" case.

“Ann always believed in standing up for what you believe to be just and right. 

“We believe that a comprehensive, open and independent statutory review examining all the information is crucial to learning lessons from this horrific incident which took place in front of many other pupils in school, traumatising pupils and staff and devastating our family. We want documents and evidence to be examined in order that steps can be taken to prevent anything like this happening again.”

Andrew Poole, Ann Maguire’s son said  “As a mother to us, and as ‘the mother of the school’, she was selfless and relentless in her support of everyone around her. She was well known for the extra time and effort she would spend with her pupils to find a way of providing a suitable teaching style that would resonate with each individual. Within her family and professional life, should she come across something amiss, or have to overcome a time of difficulty or defend her moral values, no earthly force would deter her efforts in determining what was right and fair.

“It is with this in mind that we approach this difficult time. It is with Ann in mind that we continue our plight not to point fingers of blame, but to construct an accurate version of events and procedures that failed to protect her. To establish what changes should be made and what lessons can be learnt to ensure that this can never happen again.

“Ann was a woman unfailing and tireless in her efforts to help her students, her colleagues and her society. She was an immeasurable source of love and devotion to her family, and she was the very definition of truth. But with the criminal case long gone, there remain a growing number of questions and concerns regarding the incident and the lack of any effective subsequent investigation. Whilst we seek answers and clarification on these matters, as yet we have found the avenues of our enquiries carefully protected and safeguarded behind walls of secrecy and authority.

“We believe that our family has suffered enough throughout this time. We did not expect that the heartache of losing Ann would disappear with her burial and memorial services completed. We did however naively think that such a well respected and admired woman and teacher would not be left abandoned by all those in power so that the opportunity may be lost to ensure that proper lessons are learnt from Ann’s tragic death.“

The family have already met with the Secretary of State for education, Nicky Morgan to make a clear request for an inquiry. The campaign also has the backing of specialist public lawyers at national firm Irwin Mitchell who regularly hold the authorities to account.

Expert Opinion
“The murder of a school teacher in the classroom was unprecedented in the UK. Sadly, since then, another teacher has been attacked in a classroom setting. The family want to ensure that proper lessons are learnt from Ann’s death and that every stone is turned in seeking the truth about the events that led up to the murder and Will Cornick’s actions. There is a strong legal basis for the independent investigation which will have a wider public benefit.

“The current local proposed ‘desk top’ review does not meet the severity of the issues at stake in this case. Ann’s family are seeking total openness. They want, and deserve, to know exactly what happened not only on the day but in the time leading up to the horrific attack. It is imperative that steps be taken to instigate a thorough independent investigation that looks at all the evidence, to ensure that lessons are learnt. Nothing can turn back the clock but the family are keen to know if any measures can be identified and put in place to provide teachers and pupils with better protection in future to prevent the risk of similar incidents.”
Yogi Amin, Partner

For more information or to donate towards the crowdfunding campaign, please visit the website www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/ann/

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