The family of stabbed teacher Ann Maguire issued a heartfelt statement this morning, paying tribute to “the best mother”.
The statement comes the day after the Pope sent words of condolence to the family of the Catholic school teacher who stabbed to death in her Leeds classroom on Monday.
It reads: “Our beautiful Ann, our shining light, she brightened the world for so many of us. A loving wife, the best mother, a treasured sister, a true friend. This horrific happening has robbed us of all of this and so much more. We are devastated. Her selfless, genuine, caring nature will remain with us eternally. We are overwhelmed by the support, sympathy and kind tributes we have received, they have been a source of great comfort at this dark time.
“We would ask the media to kindly respect the privacy of family and friends in the coming weeks and months. Ann we will love you always, your loving family.”
Yesterday the Vatican’s ambassador to Britain passed on Pope Francis’s sympathies over Mrs Maguire’s death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds.
Archbishop Antonio Mennini wrote: “Having learnt the sad news of the tragic murder of Mrs Ann Maguire last Monday at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, I should like to convey to you, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Leeds, as well as to Mrs Maguire’s family, friends, colleagues and the whole community of Corpus Christi College, the spiritual closeness of the Holy Father, Pope Francis as well as my sincere sympathy in these difficult moments.”
Mrs Maguire, who was 61 and was due to retire as a Spanish teacher this year, suffered multiple stab wounds during a lesson shortly before lunch on Monday.
The Prime Minister also paid tribute to the “much-loved teacher”.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron said his and all MPs’ thoughts were with the teacher’s family and friends.
Mr Cameron said: “It is clear from the tributes paid she was a much-loved teacher who had worked at the school for over 40 years. She cared so much about her pupils she had come in on her day off to help prepare them for exams.
“Our thoughts are with her family, her friends and the entire school community in Leeds who have been left devastated by this truly shocking and appalling tragedy.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband paid his own tribute, adding: “This was an appalling tragedy.
“It is clear from the testimonies of those who have spoken out since she died that she was an inspiration to those she taught and all our thoughts are with her family, friends, and the teachers and pupils of the school.”
If you knew Mrs Maguire or have been affected by the events at her school, please add your thoughts to our book of condolence. Register here and post your tribute.
Pictures: Guzelian, Ross Parry Agency, PA