Leeds teacher Ann Maguire’s killer Will Cornick loses challenge over 20-year sentence

Will Cornick. Below, the family of teacher Ann Maguire, from left, nephew Daniel Poole, daughter Kelly, husband Don and other daughter Emma, leave the High Court
Will Cornick. Below, the family of teacher Ann Maguire, from left, nephew Daniel Poole, daughter Kelly, husband Don and other daughter Emma, leave the High Court
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Teenager Will Cornick, who murdered Leeds teacher Ann Maguire, has lost a challenge to his 20-year minimum term at the Court of Appeal in London.

The 16-year-old stabbed Mrs Maguire, 61, seven times from behind as she taught a Spanish class at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Halton in April last year.

The family of teacher Ann Maguire, from left, nephew Daniel Poole, daughter Kelly, husband Don and other daughter Emma, leave the High Court

The family of teacher Ann Maguire, from left, nephew Daniel Poole, daughter Kelly, husband Don and other daughter Emma, leave the High Court

Mrs Maguire had taught there for more than 40 years and was due to retire that September.

In November, at Leeds Crown Court, Mr Justice Coulson told Cornick, who was 15 at the time of the killing, that he must serve at least 20 years before he is eligible to seek parole but warned him: “It’s quite possible that day may never come.”

Today, a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal in London, headed by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, rejected Cornick’s appeal against the minimum term, saying that on the “disturbing” facts of the case, the sentencing judge came to “entirely the right decision”.

In his ruling, Lord Thomas said there could be no doubt of the devastation which the murder had caused Mrs Maguire’s family.

Ann Maguire

Ann Maguire

There had been extensive premeditation and other aggravating features included the level of violence used, Mrs Maguire’s suffering and the total lack of remorse.

The judge said: “We consider, looking at the matter and giving due weight to each of those factors, that the deduction which the judge made of five years [from a starting-point of 25 years] was correct.

“We then stood back and asked - ‘was this the right and proper sentence?’.

“In our view, it was, and on the disturbing facts of this case, 20 years was entirely the right decision.”

Cornick attacked Mrs Maguire after boasting to friends that he was going to kill her.

After the killing, he told psychiatrists that he “couldn’t give a s***” and added: “Everything I’ve done is fine and dandy.”

The crown court heard that Cornick winked at another boy before he launched into a savage assault in front of a terrified class full of pupils.

Mrs Maguire was left with stab wounds that the paramedic who attended said were the worst she had ever seen, including one wound which went straight through her neck and another that cut her jugular vein.

Despite the injuries caused by the eight-inch-long kitchen knife, she managed to leave the classroom, pursued by the teenager, until a colleague bundled her into a room and held the door shut.

The judge heard that Cornick, who pleaded guilty to murder, had never shown any remorse and had since spoken of his pride in what he had done.

However, Richard Wright QC, for Cornick, today told Lord Thomas, who was sitting with Lady Justice Hallett and Mr Justice Globe, that it was a complicated sentencing exercise and an exceptional case.

The minimum term had to be a significant one, he said, but 20 years was “simply too long” bearing in mind Cornick’s youth, plea and lack of previous convictions.

Mrs Maguire’s widower, Don, who was in court today with other members of the family, earlier described the killing as a “monumental act of cowardice and evil”.

The family said today that they would not be making any statement.

Cornick was not present for the hearing.

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