DEVASTATED pupils and staff at St James' CE School are to receive specialist counselling to help cope with their grief following the horrific death of the school's acting Deputy Headteacher, Kathryn Linaker.

Mrs Linaker, 33, who leaves a 2-year-old child and four-month-old baby, was stabbed to death at her home in Tannery Lane, Penketh, on Saturday afternoon.

A special assembly was held at the school in Lyme Street, Haydock, for the popular teacher on Monday morning when staff and pupils were told of the tragedy.

Staff at the school were too distressed to talk about their loss, but a spokesman for St Helens Council, said: "St James' CE School and the whole community have been deeply shocked and distressed by the tragic news of the death of Mrs Kathryn Linaker.

Mrs Linaker was acting as Deputy Headteacher of the school following a successful career in St Helens during the past 10 years.

"She was a well loved and caring teacher who held the respect and admiration of her colleagues and pupils alike. On behalf of the council and everyone associated with the school and parish our deepest sympathy goes out to her family at this most difficult time.

"Specialist counselling support hs been made available through the Schools' Psychological Service. And given the circumstances of this horrific and sudden tragedy it is important that the school and those nearest to Kathryn are allowed the time and space to deal with their grief and distress."

A 24-year-old woman, Jennifer Cupit of Borrowdale Avenue, Orford, has been charged with murder and appeared before Warrington Magistrates on Monday. She was remanded in custody and is due to appear at the court on Monday, April 27.

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