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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Teenager guilty of school murder
Luke Walmsley
Luke Walmsley was stabbed in the heart
A 16-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering a younger pupil at school.

Luke Walmsley, 14, was stabbed through the heart during a break in lessons at Birkbeck College in North Somercotes, Lincolnshire last November.

The teenager had denied murder, telling Nottingham Crown Court it was an accident and he had only carried the knife to scare Luke.

The boy, who will be sentenced on Tuesday, showed no emotion as he listened to the verdict.

Luke's parents, Jayne and Paul, were at the court for the jury's decision and wept openly in the public gallery as it was delivered.

The killer's name has not been released because he is still a juvenile but the judge, Mr Justice Goldring, said he was considering waiving the boy's anonymity.

'Harrowing ordeal'

Later the court was told how the 16-year-old had been in trouble with the police on two previous occasions.

Prosecution counsel Yvonne Coen QC said he had received a reprimand for an assault on a police constable which had not resulted in any injury.

On another occasion he was given a warning by police for an assault on a fellow pupil who he punched three times in the face.

Head teacher Gary Loveridge outside Birkbeck Secondary School
Since that terrible day in November we have all struggled to understand how this could have happened
Gary Loveridge, Head Teacher at the Birkbeck College
But the boy's defence barrister described the 16-year-old as "somebody who has difficulty expressing his feelings".

During the trial the court heard of a history of ill-feeling between Luke and the other boy.

Twenty one child witnesses were called, many of whom spoke of the boy making threats against Luke and brandishing a knife at school.

One girl had said the boy had told her just minutes before the attack: "I'm going to do it, I'm going to get him."

The jury deliberated for over four hours before returning a verdict of guilty by a majority of 11 to one.

Gary Loveridge, head teacher at the Birkbeck College, described Luke's death as a "harrowing ordeal" for the whole community.

Speaking after the verdict, he said: "Since that terrible day in November we have all struggled to understand how this could have happened in our small rural school, where violence is a rarity and student behaviour is good."

'Courage'

He said the community had "marvelled at the courage" of Luke's parents and paid tribute to the reaction of pupils.

"I praise the bravery of Luke's close friends whose lives have been turned upside down by the sadness which has followed," he said.

Cheryle Berry, Lincolnshire's Director of Education, announced there would be an independent review of the incident.

She said: "The review will look at all aspects from safety and security right through to policy.

"If there are lessons to be learnt, for this school or for schools throughout Lincolnshire and even nationally, those lessons need to be learnt."




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Catherine Marston
"It was no secret they did not get on"



SEE ALSO:
Schools 'need weapons checks'
26 Jul 04  |  Education
Luke 'wanted to enjoy life'
26 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Community marks Luke's life
26 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Blow 'inconsistent with accident'
21 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Boy 'just wanted to scare' victim
20 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Mother recalls last talk with son
16 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire


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