Tributes paid to Leeds teacher as man appears in court

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Footballers wore shirts emblazoned with Ann Maguire’s name, and hundreds of balloons were released in her honour, as part of a day of tributes to mark a week since the much-loved teacher’s tragic death.

A community-led celebration of the 61-year-old’s life took place yesterday (May 5) on playing fields opposite Halton Moor’s Corpus Christi school, where she taught.

PIC: Ross Parry/Steven Schofield

PIC: Ross Parry/Steven Schofield

A football match between pupils past and present was held before the balloon release, which was accompanied by music played by former members of the school’s brass band.

The football players all wore shirts bearing the word ‘Maguire’ and the number 61, representing her age.

One of the organisers of the event, former pupil Jody-Nicole Pattison, 20, said: “Mrs Maguire touched so many hearts. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to her.”

Earlier, on Sunday, prayers for Mrs Maguire had been said in around 90 churches in West Yorkshire at the request of the Catholic Diocese of Leeds. Meanwhile, a 42-year-old man has admitted posting abusive Twitter messages about the teacher’s murder.

Robert Riley, from Port Talbot, South Wales, appeared before magistrates in Leeds yesterday morning where he admitted sending a message of a grossly offensive, abusive or malicious character.

The messages were not read out, but the court heard that some of them related to the murder of Mrs Maguire.

Magistrates were told that Riley needed to be sentenced where the messages were sent and agreed to transfer the case to Swansea Magistrates’ Court. Riley, of Dan Y Coed, Cwmavon, Port Talbot, was given conditional bail.

He left court saying nothing, with his grey tracksuit top pulled over his head.

During the 10-minute hearing, his solicitor Michael Walsh said: “He is mortified by his own behaviour, and he apologises for any upset that may have been caused to everybody.”

Mr Walsh asked the magistrates to free his client on bail, telling them the only reason he had been held overnight was for his own safety.

Riley was bailed on condition that he does not use social networking sites and the internet generally between now and his appearance on Thursday.

Riley is the second person to be charged with the offence in the wake of Mrs Maguire’s death.

Jake Newsome, 21, from Harehills, was bailed after being charged for the alleged abuse. He is due to appear before Leeds Magistrates Court on May 14.

A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been charged with Mrs Maguire’s murder and is due to stand trial in November.


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