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News

Bishop describes stabbing as 'senseless tragedy'
28 April 2014 15:37 by Christopher Lamb

The bishop in charge of Catholic Education in England and Wales has described the stabbing of teacher Ann Maguire as a "senseless tragedy."

Mrs Maguire, a 61-year-old mother of two who taught Spanish and Religious Education at Corpus Christi Catholic College, Leeds, was yesterday stabbed to death in her classroom. 

A 15-year-old male pupil at the college has been held in connection with the attack. 

Responding to the tragedy Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service who is due to be installed as Archbishop of Liverpool this Thursday, said: "I was shocked and saddened to hear of Ann 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."

He added: "Ann 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.’

Tributes have been paid to Mrs Maguire, who taught at the school for 40 years and was due to retire this summer. Hundreds attended Mass this morning at the church of Corpus Christi near to the school where Mrs Maguire was an active parishioner. 

Monsignor John Wilson, apostolic administrator of the diocese of Leeds, said that the congregation was "swelled" by a large number of current and former students.

"The Mass was solemn and of great respect and dignity," he said. "I think the most important thing is to be present [to students]. In silence, in some cases. It means they're not on their own. It's about being togehter and being a community of faith."

Staff and pupils returned to the school today as normal although one teacher, Lisa Johnson, said on Twitter: "Sombre staff room here today. Anne Maguire is the sole topic of conversation."

Corpus Christi is a mixed comprehensive with almost 1,000 pupils aged from 11 to 16, with 60 per cent of these coming from 10 per cent of the most deprived wards in the country.

Detective Superintendent Simon Beldon from West Yorkshire Police said yesterday he would like to reassure people it was an "isolated incident" and there was "no ongoing risk to pupils or staff at the school."

A spokesman for the Diocese of Leeds added: "The thoughts of all of the diocese are with the families involved – all is being done to give support to all those involved”

Former student Nichola Davies reacts outside Corpus Christi Catholic College after teacher Anne Maguire was fatally stabbed in Leeds, England, 28 April; Students stand outside Corpus Christi Catholic College; Nuns walk with students outside Corpus Christi Catholic College (CNS photos/ Darren Staples, Reuters)