A teacher stabbed to death in front of her pupils was born and brought up in Wigan, it was revealed today.
A 15-year-old student was arrested on suspicion of Ann Maguire’s murder after the horrific attack at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds on Monday.
And as tributes began to pour in for the 61-year-old mother of two, it emerged that she was Wigan-born.
As Ann Connor she attended St Patrick’s RC Primary in Scholes during the 1950s and ’60s, and the school said today that it would be offering its condolences to her family and the school where she worked for 40 years.
One former Wigan classmate, who did not wish to be named, said today: “She always wanted to be a teacher.”
And another former St Patrick’s pupil Christine McGugan, who now lives in New South Wales, Australia, said: “I am very saddened to hear of Ann’s death.
“Such a shocking thing to happen. We lost touch many years ago but I have never forgotten our friendship.
“We became best friends when we started school together at St Patrick’s in Wigan. My sincere condolences to Ann’s family and friends.
“In the words of St Augustine, our loved ones only go from us to God and God is always very near.”
It is believed that Mrs Maguire still has relatives living in the Wigan area.
Spanish teacher Mrs Maguire was just months from retiring, it was revealed yesterday.
At a press conference outside the school chairman of the governors, Martin Dowling, said: “Ann was a wonderful, dedicated teacher and will be remembered fondly by all of us.
“She had taught at Corpus Christi for 40 years and touched the lives of many people in the local community, having also taught the parents of some of our current pupils.”
Det Supt Simon Beldon, of West Yorkshire Police, confirmed that Mrs Maguire died from multiple stab wounds.
He added: “The pupils who witnessed this incident are still being interviewed by specialist officers who are very experienced in dealing with child witnesses and will ensure that their safety is paramount.
“This is clearly an unprecedented and tragic incident which has left the school and wider community in a state of shock.”
Mrs Maguire’s death is thought to be 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.
School head Steve Mort said: “Our whole school community remains in shock today.
“Ann Maguire was a long-serving, highly-regarded and much-loved member of staff and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.
“She will be sadly missed by colleagues, current and former pupils, and the community as a whole.
“This has been a shocking but isolated incident and we are helping the police as they continue with their investigations.”
A spokeswoman for St Patrick’s said: “We can confirm that Ann Maguire nee Connor was a pupil at our school in the 1950s and 1960s. As no-one remains here from that time we do not feel it appropriate to comment but we are passing on our condolences to her family and the school where she worked.”
The 15-year-old suspect, described in some national media as an intelligent loner, was still being questioned by specially-trained officers last night.