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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Mother's anguish over CCTV evidence
Jayne Walmsley
Jayne Walmsley said the verdict was "a weight off our shoulders"
The mother of school stab victim Luke Walmsley has told how upsetting she found sitting next to his killer while watching her son's last moments played on a video in court.

Jayne Walmsley said she knew he had been the target of a gang of bullies in the months before his death but never expected the tragedy that happened.

Speaking at a press conference after 16-year-old Alan Pennell was sentenced to detention for life for the murder of her son, she said she was concerned by Luke's behaviour on the morning of his death.

She said: "For a while the older boys often picked on Luke, because Luke was big for his age and very sporty and clever.

"He did get trouble from bigger boys, but it was just a certain group all of the time."

She said on the morning of his murder he had uncharacteristically refused to stay behind for sport after school.

"Mark (her partner, Mark Rowbotham) rang and told the headmaster and he said he would get straight onto it but it happened so quickly he didn't get to him quickly enough," she said.

Alan Pennell
Mrs Walmsley said Pennell was a "true bully"

"At the time I don't think you could have imagined it was going to happen."

In a joint statement on behalf of her and Luke's dad Paul she said: "No words can describe the nightmare we've been through since November.

"It's particularly upsetting to sit in court near Luke's killer and watch Luke's last moments on video.

"The boy convicted of killing Luke today has some form of life left in front of him. But Luke has none.

"His birthday was a few days ago and he would have been 15 and still full of life."

She said schools needed to learn lessons from the tragedy but said Luke's school was not to blame for Pennell carrying the knife.

"I don't really think you can blame the school," she said.

"He was just an evil boy who was a bully and he had bullied children and it was always younger (children).

Luke Walmsley
Luke was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in and he stood up to bullies
Jayne Walmsley, mother

"He roamed in a pack, he is a true bully and I don't think the school has enough power to get rid of these bullies.

"When they said murder it was like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders as a family."

She said the family were trying to rebuild their lives without Luke.

His sister, Lauren has returned to Birkbeck College, in North Somercotes, Lincs, where Luke was killed and was doing well.

Mrs Walmsley said: "There will always be a void in our hearts because Luke was taken away so suddenly from us, in circumstances we still find hard to believe and impossible to come to terms with.

"Luke was never afraid to stand up for what he believed in and he stood up to bullies.

"We know what happened to Luke happened because he did stand up to those bullies.

"Some children even take their own lives because they are being bullied but Luke was killed because he dared to stand up to the bullies in his school.

"It seems to us that schools have to put up with those bullies and trouble-causers these days because there are no special schools to send them to. That can't be right."

Paul Walmsley, Luke's father
"I did a lot of things I never dreamt I'd do, just because of Luke"

Schoolboy killer gets life term
27 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
Teenager guilty of school murder
26 Jul 04  |  Lincolnshire
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

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