Catholic school in mourning after teacher stabbed to death

A nun comforts people outside Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, where a 15-year-old boy has been arrested after a woman teacher was stabbed to death at the school.(PA)

Students at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds have been left devastated after a popular teacher at the school was stabbed to death on Monday.

A 15-year-old boy is being questioned about the attack on RE and Spanish teacher Anne Maguire shortly before 12:00 BST yesterday.  

The college, which has a "strong Christian ethos" and is home to 950 students, was to open as usual on Tuesday.  

Nuns based at Corpus Christi Church next door have been comforting shocked students at the school.

The attack on Mrs Maguire has been described as an "unprecedented event" by Ch Supt Paul Money of West Yorkshire Police.  

It is believed to be the first time a student has killed a teacher in a British classroom and the incident has shocked the local community. 

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said in the BBC that his thoughts were with all those concerned. 

"We are working with the school to support pupils and staff at this very upsetting time," he said.  

Deadly attacks on teachers are extremely rare in Britain.  Headmaster Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death outside his school 18 years ago and in Dunblane in 1996, a teacher was killed alongside 16 schoolchildren when Thomas Hamilton opened fire on them.  

Mrs Maguire was known as a popular and caring teacher.  The suspect in the attack was reportedly given detention by her last week and told peers she was "always getting at him".  

Mourners gathered at Corpus Christi Church to pray and reflect in the hours after her killing.  

Those who knew Mrs Maguire have praised her kindness.  One student, Kara Green, 16, said in the Daily Mail: "She was the best teacher ever, everyone loved her.  She stood up for you and really cared about us all.  No one had a bad word to say about her.  If she'd survived she would have forgiven him." 

Speaking to reporters outside the school, Monsignor Paul Fisher of Corpus Christi Church said: "It's obviously a very difficult time.  We're having our normal service this morning and obviously we're going to be remembering her.  

"Our administrator is in the school now, offering what support we can to the staff and the students.

"What you see here is everybody helping each other - the community and the school coming together. 

"I think you see from the tributes that have been paid what an impact she had on this school." 

Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, the Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon said: "I was shocked and saddened to hear of Anne Maguire's death yesterday.

"My prayers, and those of every Catholic parish and school in England and Wales, will be with her family and friends, the staff and students of Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds, and all who have been affected in any way by this senseless tragedy.

"Anne gave her life to the College and Catholic education, and thousands of young people have benefitted from her kindness and hard work over many years. May she rest in peace."

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