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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Schoolboy killer gets life term
Alan Pennell
Pennell stabbed Luke Walmsley through the heart in front of pupils
A 16-year-old boy has been detained for life for murdering a fellow pupil in a school corridor.

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

Alan Pennell, of Grainthorpe, Lincs, named after a judge lifted a media ban, will serve a minimum of 12 years.

Jayne Walmsley, Luke's mother, said afterwards: "He has been taken from us and we will never be the same again."

Pennell, who was found guilty of murder on Monday, sat expressionless with his head bowed as the sentence was delivered.

Luke's parents, who sat throughout the 13-day trial, sobbed as Pennell was taken down to the cells.

We as a family are now trying to rebuild our lives without Luke
Jayne Walmsley
Luke's mother

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mrs Walmsley said of Pennell: "He was an evil boy who was a bully.

"That boy convicted of killing him today still has some form of life in front of him. Luke has not.

"We as a family are now trying to rebuild our lives without Luke. Trying to be strong for each other, especially his sister Lauren."

'More CCTV needed'

She called for better security in schools including CCTV cameras in every school.

"There were no cameras in the locker areas and none in the alcove where he was killed.

"I do feel that there should be CCTV and it should be monitored during classroom changes."

A spokesperson for the Department for Education and Skills said: "We take school security very seriously, and have taken a national lead in providing safe schools and improving pupil behaviour.

"In the coming months, we will consider any lessons to be learned, and whether further action can be taken to enhance school security."

Luke Walmsley

Luke's father Paul, said of him: "He encouraged me to do a lot of things I was fearful of - I used to hate rollercoasters but we went to Florida three times and I combated that fear.

"Only last year we went to Minorca and we were doing some cliff jumping into the water.

"I was absolutely petrified but he managed to coax me into doing that eventually after he'd done it twice himself."

In sentencing, Mr Justice Goldring said Pennell had taken a "wicked weapon" - a lock-knife - to school with the intention of injuring Luke.

History of ill-feeling

"You thrust the knife into his chest for the full length of its blade - 7cm.

"I am sure this was not something done on the spur of the moment. It was something you thought about."

The court was told how Pennell had been in trouble with the police on two previous occasions.

Pennell, whose mother had died in a car accident when he was four, was described as unhappy, living with his father in a remote village.

During the trial the court heard of a history of ill-feeling between Luke and Pennell in the months leading up to the attack.

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

The BBC's Catherine Marston
"Luke's parents have found the trial an ordeal"

Schools 'need better security'
27 Jul 04  |  Education
Schoolboy killer terrified pupils
27 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Teenager guilty of school murder
26 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Luke 'wanted to enjoy life'
26 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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