‘Ann was like a sec­ond mum to me...I’ll never come to terms with her death’

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by ED GLEAVE ed­ward.gleave@dai­lystar.co.uk

THE sis­ter of a mur­dered teacher has told how the crime ripped her fam­ily’s lives apart for­ever.

Denise Court­ney has en­dured more than three years of grief since a pupil killed Ann Maguire in a school.

Warped Will Cor­nick was 15 when he stabbed her to death in front of class­mates.

Cor­nick, below, ad­mit­ted mur­der­ing Ann and was sen­tenced to life with a min­i­mum 20-year term.

Now Denise has re­vealed how the sense­less killing has de­stroyed her life, say­ing: “It was such a need­less act and it was for noth­ing. It was for no rea­son.

“And I think about the dev­as­ta­tion that’s been caused from that one act. I’ll never come to terms with what’s hap­pened. None of us will.

“She was such a sunny per­son, she was such a happy per­son. It’s like a light that’s just gone out. I lost my best friend. I’ve lost my con­fi­dante. We shared ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing and that’s now gone.

“Ob­vi­ously the shock el­e­ment of it and the very dark early days have gone but there are days now when I could be busy do­ing what­ever…I sud­denly get stopped in my tracks to think ‘did I dream that? Is it real? Is she not here?’”

Denise had al­ways been close to her older sis­ter.

She added: “She was like a sec­ond mum to me. She al­ways took care of me and she al­ways looked af­ter me so I felt safe when Ann was around be­cause she was a nat­u­ral carer.

“As we got older, we be­came close friends. She was sort of my best friend. It wasn’t un­com­mon for us to speak two, three, four times a day. And when I look back our life was just a con­tin­u­ous phone call.”

Ann, who was 61, had been a teacher at Cor­pus Christi Catholic Col­lege in Leeds for more than 41 years.

In April 2014 she was just a few months from re­tire­ment.

Denise last spoke to her on the phone two days be­fore her death.

Re­call­ing their fi­nal con­ver­sa­tion, she said: “She was telling me she’d been try­ing to get some re­ports done or some­thing she was do­ing for school.

“She’d had a re­ally heavy week and she’d re­ally been burn­ing the mid­night oil that week try­ing to get these things done.

“I re­mem­ber her say­ing ‘I just need to get to Tues­day’. And that was the last con­ver­sa­tion I had with Ann.”

Trou­bled Cor­nick is said to have had a fas­ci­na­tion with knives in the run up to the mur­der. He stabbed Ann half­way through a GCSE Span­ish re­vi­sion les­son.

When she fled the class­room he at­tempted to chase her.

She was rushed to hospi­tal but died from her in­juries. Denise was told the news min­utes later.

She said: “Ev­ery­thing stopped, ev­ery­thing turned into slow mo­tion… I was hear­ing the words but I wasn’t re­ally pro­cess­ing what those words meant. And clearly it couldn’t be Ann. It couldn’t be Ann.”

The in­quest into Ann’s death is set to reopen to­mor­row in front of a jury at Wake­field Coroner’s Court.

Her fam­ily is des­per­ate for an­swers with Denise adding: “We had lots of plans, what we were go­ing to do when we got older, how we were go­ing to take care of each other.

“She was very in­ter­ested in travel and it’s some­thing she hadn’t done a lot of and I know she had a bit of a bucket list.

“I know she was think­ing about also buy­ing a place over in Spain on the coast.

“A lot of the things that she had planned for her re­tire­ment she’s now been de­prived of.”

Ann’s is the lat­est case to fea­ture in land­mark se­ries Crimes That Shook Bri­tain which con­tin­ues tonight at 10pm on Crime + In­ves­ti­ga­tion – Sky chan­nel 553.

■ SO CLOSE: Ann, cen­tre, with her sis­ters Denise, right, and She­lagh, left

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