Ann Maguire's teenage killer sentenced to life imprisonment

Ann Maguire's teenage killer sentenced to life imprisonment

THE TEENAGER who stabbed Ann Maguire to death will spend at least 20 years behind bars after being sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering the popular teacher.

Will Cornick was emotionless as he was handed down his sentence at Leeds Crown Court yesterday afternoon, where a judge lifted a court order preventing media organisations from identifying the teen.

The 16-year-old was just 15 when he stabbed the Spanish teacher to death in her classroom at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds on April 28.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to the murder.

Mrs Maguire’s family were in court for the one-day hearing, where Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC revealed that Cornick had plotted her death months before the attack and even exchanged Facebook messages with a friend talking of “brutally killing” the teacher.

Mr Greaney went on to reveal that Cornick had arrived at the college on the day of the attack with a kitchen knife brought from home, which he showed to classmates before launching his violent attack against the defenceless mother-of-two.

He has since told a psychiatrist that he attacked the teacher at school because he “wanted to get caught” Mr Greaney explained, and “wanted to be in jail.”

Outlining the details of the attack for the court yesterday, Mr Greaney said: “Mrs Maguire was at her desk helping pupils. She was leaning over, looking at the work of a girl. The defendant approached his teacher and began to stab her in the neck and back. He attacked her from behind.”

He added: “Ann Maguire was 61 years of age, 5ft 2in in height and of slim build. The defendant was a full foot taller and was armed with a large kitchen knife. To describe his attack as cowardly hardly does it justice.”

The prosecutor said Mrs Maguire attempted to run from the room but was chased by Cornick, who continued to stab her as she “sought to escape”.

Friend and fellow teacher Susan Francis managed to pull Mrs Maguire into another classroom as she fled, where she held her foot against the door to stop Cornick entering.

By that point Mrs Maguire had been stabbed seven times to her upper back and neck, with the main wound was to her jugular vein, while Cornick returned to his classroom and sat down “as if nothing had happened”, Mr Greaney explained.

When later questioned about the impact of his actions on the family, the teenager claimed “I couldn't give a s***. I know the victim's family will be upset but I don't care. In my eyes, everything I've done is fine and dandy,” the court heard.

In a victim statement read aloud during the hearing Mrs Maguire’s husband Don branded the murder an act of “cowardice and evil” which meant he could no longer be a dad to his daughters.

“I'm still a dad but cannot help my children understand, cannot help them come to terms, cannot help them lessen the pain,” he said.

“Mummy would have been so much better. I can no longer be a dad,” he added.

The Irishman went on to describe the retirement dreams he had with his wife, whose parents hailed from Co. Mayo, which would now not be realised, while daughter Kerry claimed the murder had robbed her of her mother and her future children of a grandmother.

Her older sister Emma added: “Every morning, I wake up and I pray that this is all a bad dream, just a split second of hope which quickly vanishes and the horror of the reality sets in.”

Statements by Mrs Maguire’s sisters Shelagh Connor and Denise Courtney were also read out in court before Cornick was sentenced.

While handing down a life sentence, judge Mr Justice Coulson set a minimum term of 20 years which the boy must serve in custody before being released, but added “it's quite possible that day may never come”.