I’d murder her for a tenner
Chilling boast of boy, 15, who knifed teacher to death in classroom
A BOY of 15 who stabbed his teacher to death in her classroom had boasted on Facebook he would murder her ‘for a tenner’, an inquest heard.
On the day of the killing Will Cornick told at least ten of his schoolmates ‘precisely’ what he was going to do.
Ann Maguire, 61, ‘ stood absolutely no chance whatsoever’ when the ‘strapping’ teenage boy came at her with an 8in kitchen knife in an ‘ enormous crescendo of rage and violence’, the hearing was told.
He stabbed the ‘petite’ mother of two eight times, severing her jugular vein, during a Spanish lesson at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April 2014.
Another teacher bravely put herself between Cornick and his victim after she staggered into a corridor, but Mrs Maguire, who was a foot shorter than the teenager, died in hospital.
Yesterday it emerged that the GCSE pupil had told others exactly what he was going to do and had written about killing the teacher numerous times on Facebook.
In a chemistry class an hour before the attack, Cornick showed friends the ‘vicious-looking’ knife and said: ‘ Mrs Maguire will die.’
During the same lesson he told a fellow pupil to film the planned assault on a mobile phone.
Cornick, who played the violent video game Assassin’s Creed and was obsessed with Quentin Tarantino’s ‘killing- spree movie’ Pulp Fiction, held a grudge against Mrs Maguire, the inquest heard.
The gruesome attack was the first time a teacher had been murdered in a British classroom. Mrs Maguire had taught Spanish to two generations of pupils at Corpus Christi and was described as the ‘fulcrum of the school’.
During a lesson, Cornick calmly got up from his seat in a languages classroom on the fourth floor, stabbed the teacher and then returned to his seat ‘like nothing had happened’.
More than three and a half years after her death, more questions are being raised as to how nobody knew about the killer’s violent nature and long-held grudge against her. Detective Superin- tendent Nick Wallen, who investigated the murder, said Cornick had told ‘at least ten other pupils precisely what he was going to do – where he was going to do it and how he was going to do it’.
The teenager had also hinted at his sick plan in a string of chilling Facebook messages to friends, Wakefield Coroner’s Court heard.
Around four months before the killing he had boasted: ‘As long as she’s still alive I’ll be depressed, sad and angry.’
He later wrote: Anyway for a tenner I brutally kill Maguire … by that I mean I’ll give you a tenner to do it … So if I do kill Maguire on Tuesday in school will you bail me out?’
In a separate message he said: ‘If I’m gonna be your assassin then I’m gonna need enough pay to bail me out if I get caught.
‘Btw [by the way] no bulls***, I am full on honest about being your assassin.’
Facebook allows users to report messages if they contain ‘threats of physical harm’, but training
‘As long as she’s alive I’ll be angry’
manuals leaked earlier this year said death threats can be ignored if they are generic or ‘not credible’. And if a post is reported stretched teams of moderators have just ten seconds to make a decision on each report.
The inquest also heard that the disturbed teenager changed his cover photo on Facebook to a Grim Reaper during the message exchanges in December 2013.
The posts continued into 2014, with references to what he would go on to do just a few months later. In January, he wrote: ‘ I want power. I want … to get told off by Maguire and for me to turn around with skill, pride and power and axe her f****** cockles with a long and shiny blade.’
He asked a fellow pupil if he was willing to film him attacking Mrs Maguire on a mobile phone, the pupil’s witness statement said.
His comments were not reported to staff, the jury heard, and even when he showed other pupils the knife on the day of the murder they failed to take him seriously. In the minutes before the attack, Cornick – seen as ‘a bit weird’ by fellow pupils – had also winked at a classmate, the jury was told.
Mr Wallen said: ‘He 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”.
‘ He [ a fellow pupil] did not believe what Cornick was saying and [thought] that this was a fantasy being lived out on Facebook.’ He added: ‘This attack came com- pletely out of the blue. Nobody in the classroom saw this coming. I would say she stood absolutely no chance whatsoever. All of the children were very upset and all suffered different degrees of trauma.
He added: ‘I absolutely am of the view that there is one person responsible for Ann Maguire’s death – that is William Cornick.
‘He has pleaded guilty at the Crown Court to Ann’s murder.’
During the police investigation officers were instructed not to ask the children why they had not reported what they heard.
In the first of two incidents highlighted at the hearing, Cornick stormed out of a meeting that had been called to discuss his Spanish work after Mrs Maguire argued that he should not be allowed to drop the subject.
She later tried to prevent him from going on a school bowling trip, putting him in detention.
Cornick, now 19, had said he was prepared to go to jail ‘so as not to have to worry about life or money’. After the murder he said: ‘I know the victim’s family will be upset but in my eyes everything I have done is fine and dandy.’
The teacher’s widower told the court the idea her killer had an ‘irrational and historical hatred’ of his wife ‘seems as strange now as it did then’.
Company director Don Maguire said: ‘This was a good lad. He was bright. He was doing well at school. He was from a good home. He had a bit of a dark sense of humour. He did this terrible thing. There’s no explanation and no logic to it. I personally have always struggled a little bit with that narrative.’
Recalling the moment he saw his wife in hospital, he added: ‘As soon as I walked in I knew she had gone. I knew she had gone because not one set of eyes looked at my direction. They said I could hold her hand and it was cold.’
Mr Maguire added that his wife had discussed retiring on the morning of the attack.
Nick Armstrong, counsel for the Maguire family, said Cornick had told friends he was depressed, had tried to commit suicide and was drawing ‘disturbed’ images at 13.
Cornick, who took his GCSEs a year early, was not known to police or safeguarding agencies.
Mr Wallen said he believed introducing airport-style security was not a proportionate response in a school such as Corpus Christi.
The teenager pleaded guilty to murder in November 2014 and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum tariff of 20 years.
The inquest into Mrs Maguire’s death is due to last two weeks.
Victim: Teacher Ann Maguire, left. Above, her widower Don and daughter Emma arrive at the inquest in Wakefield yesterday
His Facebook drawing of the Grim Reaper