Family of murdered teacher Ann Maguire call for independent inquiry

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The family of Ann Maguire, a teacher killed by a student in her classroom last year, has called for a full independent inquiry into her murder in a bid to prevent further tragedy.  

Ms Maguire’s husband, Don, wants the relevant public bodies to open a full review into her killing to see if more could have been done to prevent her death while teaching at Corpus Christi College in Leeds.

Ms Maguire had taught at the school for 40 years and was approaching retirement when she was stabbed to death by a student in front of her class, as she was helping them to prepare for their exams.

The family is taking initial steps to get the inquiry under way, and has set up a crowdfunding website in an attempt to raise the funds necessary to employ legal experts to secure a review. 

They have already met with education secretary Nicky Morgan to request an inquiry.

Mr Maguire said that, owing to the perpetrator's guilty plea, no criminal trial took place and a request for the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board to hold a serious case review was later declined. Instead a local review was initiated by the council.  

“There needs to be a greater understanding and this local review doesn't even acknowledge Ann's murder as a 'serious' case,” Mr Maguire said. “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,” he added.

William Cornick was 15 when he stabbed Ms Maguire in front of his classmates. He was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years at Leeds Crown Court in November last year.

Ms Maguire, who was recognised for her services to education at the 2014 TES Schools Awards, was described as the “mother of the school” by students past and present.

Her son, Andrew Poole, said  “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’s campaign has the backing of specialist public lawyers at national firm Irwin Mitchell, which said there was a “strong legal basis for the independent investigation”.

“The current local proposed ‘desk top’ review does not meet the severity of the issues at stake in this case,” said Yogi Amin, head of public law at Irwin Mitchell. “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 learned.” 

Another teacher was stabbed at the Dixons Kings Academy in Bradford in June this year. The victim, Vincent Uzomah, survived.

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