Teenager quizzed over alleged shooting threat

A TEENAGER was last night being questioned by detectives after he threatened to go on a “shooting spree” at a school in Essex.

James Hore

A TEENAGER was last night being questioned by detectives after he threatened to go on a “shooting spree” at a school in Essex.

The 16-year-old claimed on the internet that he was planning to carry out the massacre at the Gilberd School in Colchester, where he was a former pupil.

His threats were made on Tuesday, saying he would return to the school yesterday.

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Concerned youngsters alerted parents to what had been said and there was a police presence at the school on the Highwoods estate from early yesterday.

The teenager was arrested at his home around lunchtime and was last night being questioned on suspicion of making threats to kill.

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The school's headteacher, Linda Exley , has told parents of the incident in a letter, stressing that “at no time” were students or staff placed in any danger.

She said the situation had been taken “seriously” and confirmed youngsters had been told about the threats during special assemblies in the afternoon.

The EADT understands that the teenager's threats were considered significant although it is unknown whether he had acquired any firearms.

Last night, a spokesman for Essex Police said: “A boy has been arrested in connection with an allegation of threats to kill.

“The 16-year-old boy, from the town, was arrested at his home on Wednesday lunchtime and is being questioned by officers at Colchester police station.”

In her letter, Mrs Exley told parents: “The safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us and we took this situation seriously, swiftly liaising with the local authority as well as the police.

“The individual concerned has been arrested and the police are keeping the school informed of further developments.

“It is important to emphasise that at no time were any of our students or staff at risk.

“To allay any possible concerns we took the decision to tell all students in assemblies this afternoon about what has happened.”

Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, praised the school for the way in which the incident had been handled.

He said: “We take seriously any threat to any child in Essex. I am pleased that this situation that has been dealt with so professionally by the school, Essex County Council and Essex Police.

“It shows how public services in our county work closely together.

“Today's events are now subject to a police investigation so to comment further would be inappropriate.”


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