THE widow of a headteacher who was murdered outside his school as he tried to save a pupil from gang violence has led national messages of condolence to the family of Ann Maguire.
Frances Lawrence, whose husband Philip was stabbed to death at the gates of St George’s secondary in Maida Vale, west London, in 1995, sent a heartfelt message to the Leeds teacher’s family, friends, colleagues and pupils.
The fatal stabbing at Corpus Christi Catholic College has caused many to bring up comparisons with Mr Lawrence’s murder.
But in a message on the Yorkshire Evening Post’s website Mrs Lawrence, who lives in west London, sought only to offer support to the community struggling to come to terms with their loss.
She wrote: “Eighteen years ago, my husband Philip Lawrence, a headteacher, was murdered outside his school as he intervened to save a pupil from gang violence.
“By now perhaps I should have learned words of comfort for you, the family and community of beloved teacher Ann Maguire.
“But I have learned only that there are no words.
“Instead I send all my love and my prayers and my ongoing thoughts along the cruel journey which you are now forced to begin.”
The leader of Catholics in England and Wales has also spoken of his “utter shock and sadness” at Mrs Maguire’s death.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, who was made a Cardinal earlier this year by Pope Francis, said: “Ann gave her life to the college and Catholic education, and thousands of young people have benefited from her kindness and hard work over many years. May she rest in peace.”