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Teacher killer, 16, may die in jail

A 16-year-old boy who murdered teacher Ann Maguire in a "monumental act of cowardice and evil" has been warned he may never be released from prison by a judge who found his pride and lack of remorse over his actions "truly grotesque".

Will Cornick stabbed Mrs Maguire, 61, seven times from behind as she taught a Spanish class at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds in April - a killing that shocked the nation.

Today, Mr Justice Coulson told Cornick, who was 15 at the time, that he must serve at least 20 years in custody before he is considered for release but he warned him: "It's quite possible that day may never come."

The teenager attacked Mrs Maguire after boasting to friends that he was going to kill her. Cornick also said he was going to murder other teachers, including a pregnant woman "so as to kill her unborn child", Leeds Crown Court heard.

He later told doctors: "I said I was going to do other stuff but I never got the chance, other murders. It was a triple homicide."

After the murder Cornick told psychiatrists that he "couldn't give a s***'' and added: ''Everything I've done is fine and dandy.''

Mrs Maguire's family listened as prosecutors described how Cornick winked at another boy before he launched into a savage assault in front of a terrified class full of pupils.

Mrs Maguire was left with stab wounds that the paramedic who attended said were the worst she had ever seen, including one wound which went straight through her neck and another that cut her jugular vein.

Despite the injuries caused by the eight-inch-long kitchen knife, the teacher managed to leave the classroom, pursued by the teenager, until a colleague bundled her into a room, held the door shut to keep Cornick out and grabbed the weapon from the floor.

The packed court heard that Cornick went back into the classroom, sat down and said "good times" in front of his traumatised classmates and then adopted a "bizarre calmness and air of normality".

The judge heard that he has never shown any remorse and has since spoken of his pride in what he has done.

When he was sentenced today, as with when he was stabbing Mrs Maguire to death, Cornick showed no emotion.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Paul Greaney QC said Cornick was in Mrs Maguire's Spanish class and there was nothing to indicate to the boy's parents or teachers a risk of ''homicidal violence''.

But, he said, Cornick told other children that he hated Mrs Maguire and wanted her dead.

The prosecutor said: ''Late on the night of Christmas Eve 2013 and into the early hours of Christmas Day, the defendant exchanged messages with a friend on Facebook.

''In those messages he spoke of 'brutally killing' Mrs Maguire and spending the rest of his life in jail so as not to have to worry about life or money.''

Two months before the murder, Cornick sent a message on Facebook which said of Mrs Maguire: ''The one absolute f****** bitch that deserves more than death, more than pain torture and more than anything that we can understand.''

Mr Greaney said Cornick told other pupils he was going to attack Mrs Maguire on the morning of the murder.

He showed some of them the knives he had with him.

The prosecutor said Cornick took a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey to school to celebrate after the attack.

Mr Greaney said Cornick left a room next to where Mrs Maguire was teaching and winked at a fellow student before going in to attack her.

Mr Greaney said: ''Mrs Maguire was at her desk helping pupils.

''She was leaning over, looking at the work of a girl...

''The defendant approached his teacher and began to stab her in the neck and back.

''He attacked her from behind."

He added: "'To describe his attack as cowardly hardly does it justice.''

The prosecutor said Mrs Maguire fled but she was chased by Cornick ''stabbing her as she sought to escape''.

Mr Greaney said Mrs Maguire's friend and colleague, Susan Francis, heard screaming and rushed into the corridor where she found children ''screaming in panic''.

He said Mrs Maguire ran towards her, holding her neck and saying: ''He's stabbed me in the neck.''

The defendant, he said, then came after her, ''in effect chasing her''.

Mrs Francis pushed her friend into a workroom and held her foot against the door to keep the boy out.

Mr Greaney said: ''His face was emotionless and he then walked away.

''The bravery and decency of Susan Francis during this period stand in the starkest contrast to the conduct of William Cornick.''

The prosecutor said Cornick went back to the classroom and sat down ''as if nothing had happened''.

He said: ''He added that it was a pity she was not dead.

''He said to the entire class 'good times' and spoke of an adrenalin rush.''

Mr Greaney said one girl remarked it was obvious ''that he was pleased with what he had done''.

The prosecutor said: ''Undoubtedly, one of the most disturbing aspects of an extremely disturbing case is that William Cornick not only lacks remorse but is proud of what he did in killing Mrs Maguire, who he at one stage described to (a psychiatrist) as barely human.''

He said the defendant told a psychiatrist: ''I wasn't in shock, I was happy.

''I had a sense of pride. I still do."

Cornick added: "I did not have a choice. It was kill her or suicide.''

He said that when the expert asked about the impact on Mrs Maguire's family, the teenager replied ''I couldn't give a s***'' and added: ''I know the victim's family will be upset but I don't care. In my eyes, everything I've done is fine and dandy.''

Mr Greaney quoted lead prosecution psychiatrist John Kent, saying that Cornick's own words showed a "gross lack of empathy for his victim and a degree of callousness rarely seen in a clinical practice".

Cornick, wearing a grey suit and tie, stood flanked by two prison officers in the dock as the court clerk read out the charge. His divorced parents, Ian and Michelle Cornick, sat behind him.

He looked straight ahead and showed no emotion as he pleaded guilty to murdering Mrs Maguire.

Mrs Maguire's widower, Don, and other family members wiped away tears during parts of the harrowing evidence.

In his impact statement, Mr Maguire described the killing as a "monumental act of cowardice and evil" and said: "The callous cruelty displayed defies comprehension."

Mrs Maguire's daughter Kerry covered her face with her hands as Mr Greaney described how Ms Francis comforted her mother as she lay dying. The court heard the two teachers realised how serious Mrs Maguire's injuries were and Ms Francis comforted her friend, talking about her family and how much she was loved.

Mr Greaney said Cornick has "an adjustment disorder with psychopathic tendencies" but "that does not reduce his culpability.".

Richard Wright QC, mitigating, told the judge that this was ''a sentencing exercise without parallel'' and added: ''In the UK at least - an offence without precedent.''

Mrs Maguire was killed after teaching at Corpus Christi for more than 40 years. She was due to retire in September.

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