Ann Maguire: Family of Leeds teacher in call for inquiry

Ann Maguire
Ann Maguire
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THE FAMILY of Ann Maguire, a teacher who was stabbed to death at the Leeds school where she worked in 2014, are calling for an independent inquiry.

Ann’s husband Don Maguire and his family are seeking to have Ann’s death properly reviewed by the public bodies.

They want to know whether more could have been done to prevent her death.

Ann, who was 61, taught at Corpus Christi Catholic College for 40 years. In April last year she was stabbed to death by a pupil while teaching.

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The perpetrator, Will Cornick, who was 15, was jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years at Leeds Crown Court.

The Maguire family is taking steps to get the inquiry underway but needs to raise substantial funds to cover the costs needed to help professional legal experts seek an independent review of the circumstances that led up to Ann’s tragic death.

They have set up a crowdfunding website to help raise the necessary funds.

Mr Maguire said: “We know an independent inquiry won’t bring Ann back but it will give us peace to know whether there was anything which could have been done to prevent her death so that other families don’t have to suffer like us in future.

“At the court hearing last year there was a guilty plea and so there was never a full criminal trial which went through all the evidence.

“There has never been a full inquest and we asked the Leeds Safeguarding and Children’s Board to hold a Serious Case Review to examine all the facts, but they have declined to initiate this and instead are undertaking a local review.

“There needs to be a greater understanding and this local review doesn’t even acknowledge Ann’s murder as a “serious” case.”

He added: “Ann always believed in standing up for what you believe to be just and right.

“We believe that a comprehensive, open and independent statutory review examining all the information is crucial to learning lessons from this horrific incident which took place in front of many other pupils in school, traumatising pupils and staff and devastating our family.

“We want documents and evidence to be examined in order that steps can be taken to prevent anything like this happening again.”

Andrew Poole, Ann Maguire’s son, said she was “a mother to us, and as ‘the mother of the school’, she was selfless and relentless in her support of everyone around her”.

He said pursuing the truth was something she herself was passionate about.

“Within her family and professional life, should she come across something amiss, or have to overcome a time of difficulty or defend her moral values, no earthly force would deter her efforts in determining what was right and fair,” he said.

“It is with this in mind that we approach this difficult time.

“It is with Ann in mind that we continue our plight not to point fingers of blame, but to construct an accurate version of events and procedures that failed to protect her. To establish what changes should be made and what lessons can be learnt to ensure that this can never happen again.”

“We believe that our family has suffered enough throughout this time.

“We did not expect that the heartache of losing Ann would disappear with her burial and memorial services completed. We did however naively think that such a well respected and admired woman and teacher would not be left abandoned by all those in power so that the opportunity may be lost to ensure that proper lessons are learnt from Ann’s tragic death.“

The family have already met with the Secretary of State for education, Nicky Morgan, to make a clear request for an inquiry.

Yogi Amin, Head of Public Law at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the family, said: “The murder of a school teacher in the classroom was unprecedented in the UK.

“Sadly, since then, another teacher has been attacked in a classroom setting.

“The family want to ensure that proper lessons are learnt from Ann’s death and that every stone is turned in seeking the truth about the events that led up to the murder and Will Cornick’s actions.

“There is a strong legal basis for the independent investigation which will have a wider public benefit.

“The current local proposed ‘desk top’ review does not meet the severity of the issues at stake in this case.

“Ann’s family are seeking total openness.

“They want, and deserve, to know exactly what happened not only on the day but in the time leading up to the horrific attack.

“It is imperative that steps be taken to instigate a thorough independent investigation that looks at all the evidence, to ensure that lessons are learnt. Nothing can turn back the clock but the family are keen to know if any measures can be identified and put in place to provide teachers and pupils with better protection in future to prevent the risk of similar incidents.”

For more information or to donate towards the crowdfunding campaign, visit the website https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/ann/.

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