Ann Maguire murder: Parents should be made to sign contracts with Facebook and monitor children's accounts, says coroner 




 

Parents should be made to sign contracts compelling them to monitor their children's Facebook messages, the coroner in the Ann Maguire murder inquest has claimed.

Under proposals due to be presented to the Digital minister Matt Hancock, parents would be given the right to pry on their children's accounts because their "responsibility transcends" a teenager's "entitlement to privacy".

The suggestions would also require teens aged 13 to 18 to have a named parent on their application to open an account, and make parents contractually obliged to monitor their communications.

Coroner Kevin McLoughlin outlined the proposals yesterday as a jury ruled that the murder of Spanish teacher Ann Maguire could have been prevented.

Teenage killer of teacher Ann Maguire told ten friends 'precisely' what he planned to do

Delivering a conclusion of unlawful killing, the jury at Wakefield Coroner's Court said that her death had resulted from "missed opportunities to share and record the problem behaviour" of her killer.

It comes more than two years after Ms Maguire, an employee of Corpus Christi College, Leeds was stabbed to death by pupil Will Cornick during a lesson at the school on 28 April 2014.

During the inquest, the jury heard that Cornick, then 15, had exchanged a series of messages on Facebook with friends in which he professed his hatred for Ms Maguire and his desire to harm her.

In one Facebook exchange, he expressed his loathing for the 61-year-old and offered a friend "a tenner" for them to kill her.

Another associate of Cornick told police officers in an interview that Cornick had said of Mrs Maguire: "I don't want to hurt her, I want to kill her."

The teenager told 10 pupils of his intention to kill Mrs Maguire and other members of staff, and showed four of them the 34-inch knife he later used in her brutal murder.

Despite his litany of threats, none of the pupils reported the outbursts to the school.

Their conversations with Cornick only surfaced in pre-inquest hearings, and it later emerged that they had never been questioned about them by police officers or teaching staff after her murder.

In statements following Mrs Maguire's murder, Cornick's parents claimed they had no prior knowledge of their son's intentions.

Commenting on the disclosures, Mr McLoughlin said that Cornick's online threats had been "sinister and grotesque", adding that he believed that "parents have a responsibility to protect children".

In order to do this, he said that they should be given "access to supervise content", adding: "any parent's responsibility transcends any teenager's entitlement to privacy."

A Facebook spokesman said: "We want everyone to feel safe when using Facebook. We work closely with online safety experts including the UK Safer Internet Centre and Childnet International to make sure that young people and their parents know how technology works and what they need to think about before sharing online."

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