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Ex-pupils remember stabbed Leeds teacher at mass

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Former pupils of a much-loved teacher who was stabbed to death in a classroom have gathered at a church service to remember her.

A 15-year-old boy remains in custody following the death of Spanish teacher Ann Maguire, 61, at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds yesterday.

This morning around 150 people gathered at Corpus Christi Church, which is connected to the school where she taught for more than 40 years.

Many of the popular teacher’s pupils were among the congregation, although current pupils did not attend.

Some people were in tears as Monsignor Paul Fisher began the mass.

He told them: “Yesterday evening, the community gathered here in church as well as outside to light candles and to say a prayer.

“Some people struggled to know what to pray for.

“By the time the church was closed, the candelabras were full of light.

“Today we pray for the light of hope. Hope for ourselves that we will come to terms, eventually, with what has happened.

“We pray for all those young people at our school next door and their teachers. We pray for Anne’s family and friends. We pray for Anne.

“We offer prayers too for the family of the man who, unfortunately, did what he did.

“We pray for ourselves.”

Monsignor John Wilson told the media after the service: “As you can see from this morning from the normal week day mass, the number of people have been massively swelled by the enormous numbers of young people who wanted to come and pray for, remember and give testimony to a teacher who has been a pillar of this community for the past 40 years.

“It is a sad day for us.

“A day to pause, a day of shock still and a day of grief.

“We are working to support all the members of the school community, the staff and the pupils in order for them to move forward at this difficult time.

“The pupils are still in a state of shock and are still coming to terms with what happened yesterday.

“There are educational specialists in there today working with staff.

“The chapel is open and children are being encouraged to spend time there to pray and to talk about what has happened.”

He added that the mood in the community was “very sombre” and said there was a “great sadness”.

He said: “This has come as a shock and a time when faith for people becomes especially important.

“People need time to allow this information to fully percolate through them.”

Mrs Maguire’s death is thought to be the first time a teacher has been fatally stabbed in a British classroom, and the first killing of a teacher in a school since the 1996 Dunblane massacre.

 

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