Perth teenager sentenced to 11 months in prison for conspiracy to kill teacher at Willetton Senior High School

A ‘high-achieving’ student who plotted with a friend to murder a Perth high school teacher has been sentenced to 11 months in juvenile detention.

The girl, who cannot be identified, was 13 when she and her friend, another then 14-year-old student, took to social media last year to discuss the murder of the teacher at Willetton Senior Highschool.

Perth Children’s Court was told the couple had initially talked about burning down the school, but when that idea was dismissed the 13-year-old sent a message saying “the idea of ​​stabbing should take the on it now”.

The eldest daughter responded saying she would do some ‘research’ before detailing in later posts where and how to stab the teacher in a way that would sever an artery and cause ‘immediate death’.

Willetton Senior High School went into a brief lockdown after the teacher was attacked.(ABC News)

Then, on November 1 last year, the friend brought a knife to school, which the 13-year-old hid in her bag, before returning it to her during recess.

The friend then went to a meeting with the teacher where she told the woman she had a “good surprise” for her, before throwing herself on her.

The police alerted to the role of the young girl

Around the same time, other friends of the girl, who had been told what she was planning to do, sounded the alarm and a member of staff tried to alert the teacher to what was happening. passed.

Because the teacher got up at the same time as the girl threw herself on her, she ended up only sustaining a minor injury near her armpit.

A group of people walk along a pathway in Perth's CBD, photographed from behind.
The girl was accompanied by her parents when she left court in June after admitting her guilt.(ABC News: Joanna Menagh)

The school was closed immediately, but the 13-year-old remained silent until later that day when police were made aware of her role in the crime.

She was originally charged with attempted murder, but prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge of “with intent to do an act that caused bodily harm.”

Willetton SHS stabbing
Other students at Willetton Senior High School sounded the alarm just before the attack.(ABC News)

At a hearing in July, the 13-year-old’s lawyers argued for the girl to be given a community sentence, describing her as a “high-achieving student” who unequivocally accepted that what she had done was wrong.

They also said that most of the details about what was planned came from the friend.

But prosecutors asked that the teenager be given an immediate sentence of detention, and because the president of the juvenile court, Hylton Quail, wanted to consider the possibility, he remanded her in custody to the juvenile detention center of Banksia Hill.

Today the girl, who is now 14, was sentenced to 11 months in juvenile detention, but could be freed after serving half of that. She has been in custody since July 21.

The Professor Could Have Died: Judge

At sentencing, Judge Quail said it was the second time this year that he had to sentence a young person in the context of violence against teachers, although in the previous situation the incident had been avoid.

“This offense is one where general deterrence is important,” he told the court.

Judge Quail described the crime as “shocking” and “completely irrelevant”, saying the girl’s family was “devastated”.

“Your encouragement and support [of the other teenager was] important,” the judge told the schoolgirl, and when there were discussions about the plans, “you didn’t tell anyone about it.

A police car in front of a school
The police were not informed of the girl’s involvement in the plot until later that day.(ABC News: David Weber)

Judge Quail said if the teacher was not moving at the time of the stabbing, she may have died.

The community needed to know that such behavior had serious consequences.

Teacher still in pain after attack

The judge described the continued impact on the teacher as “substantial”, with “profound consequences” as she suffered from PTSD and had reason to question her career and identity.

He acknowledged the teenager was sorry for what she had done and was unlikely to do it again.

The court heard that since the girl was taken into custody in July there had been several closures at Banksia Hill due to staff shortages and “operational demands”.

Judge Quail said the sentence should be reduced, due to the closures, which he said had subjected her to a form of solitary confinement and “arbitrary punishment”.

“Extended lockdowns are illegal,” he told the court.

The other teenager pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

She was told she would receive a custodial sentence when sentenced later this month.

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