Teacher's family see accused boy

Preston and Leyland Citizen: Ann Maguire's family has described her as their "shining light" Ann Maguire's family has described her as their "shining light"

The husband and daughters of teacher Ann Maguire who was stabbed to death in her classroom have watched the 15-year-old boy accused of her murder appear in court before going to inspect the mass of floral tributes left for her.

Donald Maguire stared intently at the 15-year-old accused of murdering his 61-year-old wife when the teenager appeared for a two-minute hearing at a packed Leeds Youth Court this morning.

The youth is accused of killing the much-loved teacher as she taught a lesson at Corpus Christi Catholic College on Monday morning.

Mr Maguire, 62, sat between his daughters Kerry and Emma at the back of the courtroom and clutched their hands as the boy stood in the glass-fronted dock flanked by security guards.

Earlier, the family released an emotional tribute to the long-serving Spanish teacher, describing her as "our shining light".

A few hours after they attended court, Mr Maguire and his family travelled to the school where his wife died to lay flowers at the gate and attend church, where they were told they were supported by a "sea of love".

They spent about 10 minutes in the drizzling rain inspecting the hundreds of messages and flowers which now stretch from the entrance to the school for about 100 yards to the gates of the neighbouring Corpus Christi church.

The family then spent about 30 minutes in the church where they were comforted by Deacon Sean Quigley.

Deacon Quigley said : "The family made a visit to the church which has been an important focus in the last few days and where, on Monday evening, we had at one stage 600 people remembering Ann."

Mr Quigley, who once taught in the classroom opposite Mrs Maguire, said: "The family came in and prayed and they were there.

"They had looked at some of the tributes that were outside and they were obviously in a state of great distress.

"I told them that they are surrounded by a sea of love, but that is not such a tremendous comfort at the present time."

Asked how the family was, the priest said: "I think you saw how they were. I won't say any more than that. I think they were as you can imagine."

Mrs Maguire was months away from retiring after working at Corpus Christi for more than 40 years when she was stabbed in front of pupils.

Police have confirmed that Mrs Maguire died from multiple stab wounds.

In a statement released through West Yorkshire Police, the family said: "Our beautiful Ann, our shining light, she brightened the world for so many of us.

"A loving wife, the best mother, a treasured sister, a true friend. This horrific happening has robbed us of all of this and so much more. We are devastated. Her selfless, genuine, caring nature will remain with us eternally.

"We are overwhelmed by the support, sympathy and kind tributes we have received. They have been a source of great comfort at this dark time.

"We would ask the media to kindly respect the privacy of family and friends in the coming weeks and months.

"Ann, we will love you always, your loving family."

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in court with his right arm in plaster.

Dressed in navy blue tracksuit bottoms and a matching sweatshirt, he nodded to his own parents as he walked into court and spoke four times to say "yes" to questions from the clerk.

He was flanked by three security officers and looked around Court 20 at the Youth Court, which was packed with about 35 lawyers, journalists, police officers and family members, as the short hearing progressed.

The court clerk asked him if he understood the murder charge and to confirm personal details, including his date of birth and address.

District Judge Roy Anderson told him he will be remanded in youth detention and will appear at Leeds Crown Court tomorrow morning by video-link.

He said no application for bail was allowed at this hearing.

Mrs Maguire raised her two nephews, Andrew and Daniel, as her own children following the death from cancer of her sister, Eileen Poole, when they were young.

Daniel sat in court with Mr Maguire and his daughters this morning.

Mrs Maguire's death is the first time a teacher has been stabbed to death in a British classroom, and the first killing of a teacher in a school since the 1996 Dunblane massacre.

She went to Corpus Christi as a student teacher and last year the school held a celebration of her 40 years' service.

This year, she moved to working four days a week ahead of her planned retirement in five months.

Mrs Maguire, who was head of Year 11 at the school for more than 10 years, lived in the Moortown area of Leeds with her husband, who is a retired maths teacher and landscape gardener.

Asked whether David Cameron supported local calls for a permanent memorial to be erected to Mrs Maguire, the Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster media briefing: "You have seen from the outpouring of both grief but also celebration of her life and her contribution to the school community and the wider community, how she was valued in that area.

"I'm sure that it is absolutely fitting that the local community will want to pay both respects and tribute to her memory."

Asked if this should take the form of a permanent memorial, the spokesman said: "It will be for the local community to decide how best they do it, but would that be fitting? Absolutely so."

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