LONDON (Reuters) – A teenage British schoolboy was jailed for at least 20 years on Monday after pleading guilty to stabbing to death a teacher he had developed a hatred of in front of horrified pupils during a lesson at a college in northern England.
William Cornick, then aged 15, murdered Ann Maguire, 61, in April in what was believed to be the first killing of a British teacher by a student in almost 20 years, sending shockwaves around the country where violent school incidents are rare.
“This tragic case has shocked the nation,” said Peter Mann, head of the complex casework unit at the regional prosecution office. He said the teenager had shown no remorse at all for what he had done.
“While his deep-seated hatred for Ann appears incomprehensible, we are clear that he calmly and methodically planned this cold-blooded attack on her.”
Leeds Crown Court heard Cornick, now 16, had long planned the attack on Maguire, a popular teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College in the city, about 280 km north of London. During a lesson, he repeatedly stabbed her in front of about 30 traumatised pupils with a kitchen knife.
After the attack, he sat back down next to his classmate and said out loud “good times”.
The court was told he was the son of “responsible and caring parents”, but friends felt his personality had become disturbed as he got older.
After the murder he told one psychiatrist: “It’s kill or be killed. I did not have a choice. It was kill her or suicide.”
Asked about the impact on Maguire’s family, he said: “I know the victim’s family will be upset but I don’t care. In my eyes, everything I’ve done is fine and dandy.”
Cornick was told he would spend a minimum of 20 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to murder.
“There can be no doubt that the defendant is highly dangerous,” said the judge Peter Coulson.