THE head of a major investigation into the killing of schoolteacher Ann Maguire has been replaced after concerns raised by her widower at a meeting with a Government Minister, it has emerged.
The much-loved teacher was fatally stabbed by student Will Cornick as she taught a lesson at Corpus Christi College in Halton Moor in April last year. The teen murderer, just 15 at the time of the killing, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years.
Last week, Mrs Maguire’s family launched the Truth for Ann campaign calling for a full independent inquiry into their loved one’s death.
Mrs Maguire’s husband Don had previously criticised the planned local review by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board - an independently chaired watchdog - saying “it doesn’t even acknowledge Ann’s murder as a ‘serious’ case.”
And now, new documents laying out the initial groundwork for the “Learning Lessons Review” have revealed the inquiry “has been revised following a decision to stand the Lead Reviewer down after representations made by Mr Maguire and concerns expressed by Mr Maguire to the Secretary of State at a meeting with her on 21st September 2015”.
The document goes on to say that “the grounds for conducting a Serious Case Review are not met”, even though “the murder of a teacher by a pupil in the UK within a school is believed to be without precedent”.
It was reported last week that Mrs Maguire’s family were calling for a fully independent inquiry as they seek to have her death properly reviewed by the public bodies.
They have also set up a crowdfunding website to help pay for the legal costs, which could reach £50,000.
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.
“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.”
Speaking of the original panel chair being stood down, Jane Held, of Leeds Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The board was more than satisfied that the original lead reviewer appointed to carry out the learning lessons review into Ann Maguire’s death was fully independent, skilled and suitably qualified for the role.
“In keeping with our promise to engage all the families immediately involved, we consulted widely on the appointment. Formal objections were received from Mr Maguire before and after the work began, which we listened to. We have now appointed a new lead reviewer, equally independent, skilled and suitable.
“Regrettably, for all those involved this meant a delay in undertaking the review. Revised dates for completion have now been agreed.”
• To donate towards the Truth For Ann crowdfunding campaign, visit the website https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/ann/.