UK

Teenager told teacher ‘I’m sorry’ before stabbing him, court hears

Tewkesbury Academy in Gloucesershire was locked down after the incident (Ben Birchall/PA)
Tewkesbury Academy in Gloucesershire was locked down after the incident (Ben Birchall/PA) Tewkesbury Academy in Gloucesershire was locked down after the incident (Ben Birchall/PA)

A masked teenager told a teacher “I am sorry” seconds before stabbing him with a knife in a school corridor, a court heard.

The 15-year-old boy was wearing a snood and a hooded top and armed with a kitchen knife when he confronted maths teacher Jamie Sansom outside a classroom at Tewkesbury Academy, in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

He told the teacher to “come here” and, as Mr Sansom stepped back, lunged at him slowly with the knife causing a small wound to his stomach.

The boy then dumped the snood and his rucksack and fled the school, before texting his mother to apologise and say goodbye, Bristol Youth Court heard.

Christine Hart, prosecuting, said the defendant had left home on the morning of July 10 and had been seen on the school’s CCTV entering the site and going to a toilet block.

“While in the cubicle he phoned the emergency services and stated he had overheard a conversation that one of the teachers was going to be stabbed,” Miss Hart said.

“He knocked on the classroom door and asked Mr Sansom to ‘come here’ and gestured towards him.

“He had a six-inch kitchen knife in his hand and as he moved towards him he said, ‘I am sorry’ and motioned towards his stomach.

“Mr Sansom moved back and felt the knife stab. Mr Sansom asked what he was doing, and the boy ran off.”

He then texted his mother, telling her: “I am sorry. Goodbye forever but remember this I always loved you guys.”

A short while later he was arrested by armed officers but in interviews never disclosed a motive for the attack.

The school was locked down for four hours until pupils were told they could go home.

Tewkesbury incident
Tewkesbury incident Teacher Jamie Sansom was stabbed in a corridor at Tewkesbury Academy (Tewkesbury Academy/PA)

At a previous hearing the defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had previously admitted attempting to unlawfully and maliciously wound Mr Sansom and possessing a bladed article.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Sansom said he was now nervous about going out at night.

“I never thought this would happen in a school or to me,” he said.

“When I saw him outside and all of a sudden there was a knife there, at first, I thought this was a joke and wondered if I was in some sort of soap opera.

“When he said, ‘I am sorry’, I didn’t know what to do and when the knife made contact with my stomach I panicked and ran to a colleague.

“I do not know what the reason was for this and what caused him to come into school with a knife and stab me.

“I have thought about this and cannot figure out why.”

Mr Sansom, who left the school at the end of the summer term, added: “I hold no ill will to him of what happened, but he needs to understand that actions have consequences.

“It’s not OK to take a knife into school and the problem with knives is not going away.

“I think the education system is stretched and students realise that and I think this is something the education sector needs to do more to prevent incidents like this.”

James McKenna, defending, said at the time of the incident the defendant’s mental health was poor and was suffering from anxiety and depression.

He said this was caused by bullying at his school, but the police had found no evidence of any reported incidents, the court heard.

“It clear that this can best be described as a freak incident. It has come from nowhere and that’s what makes it particularly alarming in the circumstances,” he said.

“He is extremely sorry for what he has done.”

He added: “What is clear from the time I have had with him is that he is a young man of few words.

“He is somewhat of a loner and does not have a lot of friends outside school and in school and spends a lot of time at home.”

District Judge Lynne Matthews imposed a 14-month detention and training order which he would serve half in custody and the remainder at home working with the youth offending team.

“You were not acting impulsively,” she said.

“You took the face covering to school, you took the knife to school. You told a friend what was going to happen, and you told the emergency services.

“You told him that you were sorry, and you stretched out your arm and moved slowly in a stabbing motion towards his stomach and he saw you were holding a knife and moved backwards.

“But the knife still made contact with his stomach, and he felt a sharp painful sensation. He shouted at you, ‘What are you doing?’ and you ran away.

“This offence is very serious and your intention was to really seriously injure Mr Sansom and it is good fortune he stepped back.

“There was clearly a harmful effect upon the whole school. The school was locked down and parents would have been really worried.

“This is something you see on the television about America – not Tewkesbury.

“What you did has had a lasting impact upon Mr Sansom.”

She added: “Teaching is one of the most important roles people can take on. It doesn’t encourage graduates to enter teaching if they fear getting stabbed.”