Students shown murder knife

Don Maguire and daughter Emma arrive at Wakefield Coroners court
Don Maguire and daughter Emma arrive at Wakefield Coroners court

A 15-year-old boy who knifed Wigan teacher Ann Maguire to death in her classroom told schoolmates that he also wanted to stab a pregnant teacher because he wanted to kill her baby, an inquest has heard.

Will Cornick showed other pupils the 13ins-long kitchen blade he brought into school and told a number of children about his plans ahead of his attack on Mrs Maguire at Corpus Christi Catholic College, in Leeds.

Extracts of the teenagers’ statements were read out at the inquest into Mrs Maguire’s death at Wakefield Coroner’s Court on Tuesday.

One teenager told police: “He showed me the knife.

“He like smiled and pulled out, like, a Jack Daniels bottle and said ‘it’s like a party - party drink’ and, like, laughed.”

Another said: “He was sort of saying he looked at the human body and how to kill people because he wanted to kill them fast.”

The pupil said Cornick told him this was so he could go from Mrs Maguire to other teachers - Miss Miley, who was pregnant, and Mr Kellett.

The boy said in his statement: “He was going to stab Miss Miley in the stomach because she was pregnant and wanted to kill the baby instead.”

He told officers Cornick said he was going to stab Mr Kellett in the throat because he wanted to go to prison.

Nick Armstrong, representing Mrs Maguire’s husband Don and their four children, told the court that, on the morning of the attack, Cornick told 10 students about the knife and three of these saw at least part of it, yet none of them reported it.

One pupil told teacher Emma Conway about seeing the knife only after the incident, he said.

Mr Armstrong asked Ms Conway why she thought none of them reported it before the attack.

Ms Conway said: “I’ve no idea. I don’t know why any one of them wouldn’t have done.”

She added: “It beggars belief that they wouldn’t share that information. It’s shocking.”

Speaking to Wakefield Coroners’ Court via Skype, Ms Conway said the incident had made her question her relationship with pupils.

She said: “You may feel you have a feel for them but then they turn round and become incomprehensibly violent.

“It’s something that terrifies me, it haunts me.

“I would never have thought that someone so polite and quiet and well-mannered would dream of doing anything so horrific.”

Ms Conway said she taught Cornick art and described him as “very creative, very good at drawing, quiet but respectful, slightly unusual”.

She agreed he had “considerable ability as an artist”.

The teacher said: “He was very quiet and seemed to hide under his hair a lot.”

Ms Conway said Mrs Maguire, who had taught at Corpus Christi for 41 years, was “a highly regarded teacher”.

She said: “She was well-liked, very experienced, very lovely, like a mother figure.”

Cornick was jailed for life for Mrs Maguire’s murder in April 2014 and told he must serve a minimum of 20 years in custody.

The hearing is scheduled to last two weeks. On the first day Det Supt Nick Wallen said the 61-year-old “stood absolutely no chance whatsoever” when she was attacked by Cornick.

Mr Wallen said Cornick told at least 10 other children what he was going to do to Mrs Maguire on the morning of the killing, but they did not tell staff.

Mr Wallen said none of these teenagers should be blamed for what happened and explained that he had instructed his detectives not to ask them why they did not report what Cornick had told them.

He told the inquest jury: “It would be wholly wrong to sit here and raise that perhaps all this could have been avoided if a 15-year-old boy had told the teacher.”

He added: “He (Cornick) was a young man who was prone to say things that weren’t true. That’s the reason that, on the day, most people who Will spoke to thought ‘That’s just Will, that’s what he does’.”

Mr Wallen said: “This attack came completely out of the blue. Nobody in the classroom saw this coming. I would say she stood absolutely no chance whatsoever.”