Three years on, a moving plea for answers over Leeds teacher Ann Maguire’s death

Ann Maguire.
Ann Maguire.
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The widower of murdered Leeds schoolteacher Ann Maguire has made an impassioned plea for “the truth” to be established about his wife’s death.

Speaking on the eve of today’s third anniversary of the tragedy, Don Maguire described Mrs Maguire as “the kindest of souls” and a “most extraordinary teacher”.

Mr Maguire also criticised a Leeds Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) report into the circumstances surrounding his wife’s killing.

He said that he and his family contacted the LSCB in February this year asking it to withdraw its report, calling it “procedurally flawed and substantively inadequate in its findings”.

The Yorkshire Evening Post can also reveal that an application by Mr Maguire for permission to seek a judicial review of the proposed scope of the inquest into his wife’s death was turned down by a High Court judge earlier this month.

The Maguires are currently considering their next legal move regarding the inquest, which they are concerned will not look at all the relevant evidence or hear from all the relevant witnesses.

Mrs Maguire, 61, was stabbed by 15-year-old pupil Will Cornick while she was teaching in a classroom at Halton Moor’s Corpus Christi Catholic College on April 28, 2014.

Cornick had threatened to kill the mother-of-two in social media posts and on the morning of the attack talked to fellow pupils about wanting to murder her. He was later jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court.

Published in November last year, the LSCB report concluded that the incident could not have been predicted or pre-empted.

The LSCB is a statutory body comprising representatives of agencies and organisations including Leeds City Council.

Mr Maguire has called for a full independent inquiry into his wife’s death, branding the LSCB report a “massively missed opportunity”.

He said yesterday: “It is totally unreasonable to expect those agencies closely involved in the provision of education, safeguarding and management and other services to local Leeds school communities to organise and participate in a truly objective review into the murder of one of its teachers by one of its pupils.”

Referring to the numbing aftermath of Mrs Maguire’s “vicious” and “brutal” murder, he said: “One can fully understand that initial shock and disbelief.

“However, it is very disappointing that after all this time these most trusted institutions of the community have compounded the destructiveness of this terrible act with a wall of silence and an overriding concern with reputational protection.

“Even more worrying is that the criminal justice system seems to support this position.

“We had hoped for co-operation, information and understanding but instead a controlling quiet complicity and a ‘blind eye’ were the dominant features.

“We must encourage those with genuine information to assist in the search for the truth – a truth that when established can withstand total and open scrutiny.”

Mr Maguire added: “This truth can be a very difficult road to follow, upset and discomfort will be encountered, but it must be travelled – it is the only way. It is time to end the pretend learning.”

He also said the “real Ann Maguire” and the “essence of her beautiful being” had been an “important absence” from the LSCB report.

“All of Ann’s life was lived as a gift to others,” said Mr Maguire. “A life in teaching – helping, improving and transforming.”

Responding to Mr Maguire’s criticism of the report, LSCB independent chair Mark Peel said yesterday: “We would again like to express our sympathy to all those who continue to feel the loss of Ann and especially Mr Maguire and all members of her family.

“There are still legal proceedings ongoing around the scope of the inquest, and as such it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

Mrs Maguire’s inquest is due to get under way in November. West Yorkshire coroner’s service declined to comment on Mr Maguire’s judicial review application.

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