True Crime

The baby-faced killer who stabbed his teacher

He winked then launched a sickening attack

When beloved teacher Ann went into work on her day off, her life was brutally cut short by one of her own students in a crime that shook Britain.


For the Maguires there was so much to be excited about.
After 41 years teaching Spanish, Ann, 61, was just months away from retiring.

She’d be free to spend more time with her beloved husband of 37 years, Don, their adult daughters Kerry and Emma, and nephews Daniel and Andrew who the couple had raised after Ann’s sister had passed away from cancer.
Loved by both her students and colleagues, with many describing her as the ‘mother of the school’, it was no surprise that Ann was heading in on her day off.
It was coming up to exam time for her Year 11 students and she wanted to help them with some revision work.
What Ann didn’t know was that 15-year-old student Will Cornick had decided this was the day Ann had to die…

Spanish teacher Ann Maguire
Ann was days from retirement (Credit: Getty)

For the past three years Will had been harbouring an irrational hatred for his teacher.
Despite being a solid student who was rarely in trouble, Will told his parents he hated Spanish class and couldn’t stand Mrs Maguire.
His anger intensified after Ann gave him a detention for skipping his homework.
One day, Will sent a text message to a friend saying the teacher ‘deserved more than death, more than pain and more than torture.’
As long as she is alive, I’ll be depressed, sad and angry… so there’s only one thing to do! he wrote.
Will even told friends that after killing Mrs Maguire he’d claim to hear voices so he’d be given ‘comfy walls’ in a psychiatric facility instead of going to prison.
That way, he said, he’d never have to worry about earning money, or life, ever again.
Known for being a bit of a loner and a little ‘odd’, Will’s friends thought he was just blowing off steam.
But on that Monday when Ann came in on her day off, Will packed a 34cm kitchen knife in his backpack and went to school.

Killer Will Cornick's police mugshot
Cornick’s police mugshot (Credit: West Yorkshire Police)

Throughout the morning, Will bragged to fellow students that he was going to stab Mrs Maguire before moving on to two other teachers, Andrew Kellett and pregnant Sinead Miley, to kill her unborn child.
He even showed three students the knife, as well as a bottle of Jack Daniels that he was planning to drink in celebration of the murders.
Nobody took him seriously, they thought it was just ‘Will being Will’.
Then, during third period Spanish, Will removed the knife from his bag and stood up from his desk.
Turning to smile and wink at the student next to him, Will walked into the adjoining classroom where Ann was leaning over a desk helping a student.
Will approached from behind and repeatedly plunged the knife into her back.
The third stab sliced through Ann’s jugular vein, and while students screamed in terror, Ann ran, clutching at her neck as Will followed.
From the office next door, teacher Susan Francis heard the screams and was rushing to see what the commotion was when Ann stumbled through the door and collapsed in her arms.
‘He stabbed me in the neck,’ she gasped. ‘I’m dying.’

Floral tributes were left to the popular teacher
Floral tributes were left for the popular teacher (Credit: Getty)

Susan managed to slam the door shut and lock them inside seconds before Will appeared.
Susan held his gaze through the glass.
‘He just stood looking at me,’ she said. ‘I just remember his face having no emotion. Like a mask.’
Holding Ann close, Susan noticed cuts in her jumper and a terrifying amount of blood coming from her neck.
‘I just kept stroking her and kissing her,’ Susan said. ‘She knew she was dying.’
Meanwhile, Will walked back into his classroom.
‘Good times,’ he said before calmly sitting down at his desk and waiting for the police to arrive.
After a call from the school principal, Don rushed to the hospital.
When he saw the police, he realised things were serious.
‘They took me to the emergency treatment room and Ann was there surrounded by people,’ Don remembered tearfully. ‘There was blood everywhere.’

Ann's daughter Kerry spoke at her mum's memorial
Ann’s daughter Kerry spoke at her mum’s memorial (Credit: Getty)
Mourners attend Ann Maguire's funeral
Ann Maguire’s coffin is carried from her funeral service (Credit: Getty)

After suffering seven stab wounds, one puncturing right through from the back to the front, Ann passed away.
During a psychological assessment, doctors saw through Will’s claim of hearing voices but noted that he displayed definite psychopathic tendencies.
In November 2014, William Cornick, 16, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.
Five years later, Will has still never expressed any remorse for his crime, insisting he doesn’t care that he traumatised his fellow students and caused Ann’s family a lifetime of pain.
‘I was happy. I had a sense of pride. I still do,’ Will told doctors.
Just weeks after her death, Ann’s students paid tribute to their favourite teacher in a way they knew would make her proud.
In a campaign they dubbed ‘A for Ann’ the students studied their hardest and managed to bring in the highest exam scores in the school’s history.
‘She was a special person who gave her life to helping others,’ Don said.

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