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Ann Maguire murder: teenager jailed for at least 20 years

A 16-year-old boy was today sentenced to at least 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering teacher Ann Maguire.

Mr Justice Coulson said that Will Cornick showed a "total and chilling lack of remorse" after he stabbed Mrs Maguire, 61, seven times as she taught a class at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April, when he was 15.

The judge set the 20-year tariff - the minimum time the boy must serve in custody before he is released - but added that, having read about him, "it's quite possible that day may never come".

He said that Cornick's pride in what he did and lack of remorse was "truly grotesque".

Family members, pupils and colleagues of Ms Maguire paid tribute after her death to a "perfect" teacher. Some 1,200 people packed into Leeds town hall, with another 500 watching on screens outside, to listen to a memorial service in September.

Today, prosecutor Paul Greaney QC told the court that Cornick had come from a loving and supportive family and had been doing well academically.

However, Mr Greaney said the teenager had told other children that he hated Ms Maguire and wanted her dead. On Christmas Eve 2013, he exchanged messages with a friend on Facebook in which "he spoke of brutally killing Ms Maguire and spending the rest of his life in jail so as not to have to worry about life or money", the court was told.

After his arrest, Cornick told a psychiatrist how he had planned the killing. "I wanted to get caught," he said. "That's why I did it in school. I wanted to be in jail."

The court heard that he attacked Ms Maguire from behind while she was at the desk of one of her pupils. After stabbing her, Cornick went back to the classroom and sat down "as if nothing had happened", the prosecutor told the court. 

"To describe his attack as cowardly hardly does it justice," he added.

Ms Maguire, who had taught at Corpus Christi for more than 40 years, is the first teacher to be murdered in a British classroom.

The Ann Maguire Arts Education Fund has been set up in her memory to provide bursaries and funding for the enhancement and personal development of young people through music, drama, language and dance.

In July, TES honoured Ms Maguire with a special award for services to education.

Related stories:

Memorial service held for 'perfect' teacher Ann Maguire - 29 September, 2014

Ann Maguire: teenager has 'accepted responsibility' for teacher's death - 11 July, 2014

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