On March 28, 1994, I was the teacher responsible for a class of 12 and 13-year-old pupils at Hall Garth School, Middlesbrough. An intruder burst into our classroom, threatened me and my pupils with a gun and forced me to leave. He then wreaked havoc in the room, terrified and traumatised all present, killed Nikki Conroy with a knife and stabbed two other pupils many times, before being overcome by two members of staff.
I not only had the gun pointed at me and my pupils, but I removed it from the room while the intruder was being overpowered. The gun was very real to me and it took careful analysis by the police to establish that it was a replica, even to their experienced eyes.
While the issue of replica guns may at this stage muddy the waters, I feel it deserves serious consideration.
GRAHAM NELLIST Hall Garth School Hall Drive Acklam Middlesbrough Cleveland