Detectives started questioning the teenager arrested on suspicion of murdering teacher Ann Maguire yesterday – amid suggestions he chased her from one room to another during the attack.
The 15-year-old had been in custody for 24 hours following 61-year-old Mrs Maguire’s death from multiple stab wounds at Corpus Christi Catholic College on Monday.
It is understood she had tried to escape an assault that began in front of a class full of 30 pupils at 11.48am but was pursued into another room where she suffered further injuries. Colleagues detained the boy before police arrived.
A post-mortem revealed that Mrs Maguire had several wounds to her back and neck.
The incident was described by both police and education officials as an isolated attack.
Officers stood guard outside the 15-year-old’s home in Leeds yesterday after his name was widely publicised on social media, as police appealed to people not to identify him.
The detective leading the investigation said that the process of interviewing him would have to be delicately handled.
Detective Superintendent Simon Beldon, of West Yorkshire Police Protective Services, said: “Given his young age, this is a process which needs to be handled sensitively and can take some time to complete. We will obviously give consideration to our powers to extend the period of his detention if that is required.
“The pupils who witnessed the incident are still being interviewed by specialist officers who are very experienced in dealing with child witnesses and they will ensure that their welfare is paramount.”
Two classrooms in the modern languages department on the top floor of the school remained closed yesterday, but Mr Beldon said forensic examinations had concluded.
“We are continuing to work closely with the school to ensure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum,” he said.
Chief Inspector Nik Adams, who is in charge of neighbourhood police in east Leeds, said the school and the wider community were being supported.
He added: “While we are not currently in a position to discuss the full circumstances of this incident, we can say categorically that it was an isolated incident and not an indicator of any wider issue within the school.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson called for a “measured” response to Mrs Maguire’s death, adding: “In due course we need to consider what more can be done to ensure school safety.”