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News > General > 30th anniversary of attack on Sullivan and its pupils

30th anniversary of attack on Sullivan and its pupils

The 17th June 2024 marks 30 years since the flame-thrower attack on Sullivan and its pupils.
16 Jun 2024

Garnet Bell, a former pupil of the school, was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison after using an improvised flamethrower to attack students sitting French and Technology A-level exams in the Assembly Hall at the school on 17th June 1994. 

The flame- thrower was a home-made device using a fire extinguisher which Bell filled with a flammable liquid and ignited with a cigarette lighter once in the Hall.

Three pupils were badly hurt and received treatment for severe burns.

Others were treated for more minor injuries and while many parents flocked to the school gates as the news broke, the vast majority of pupils stayed in school with lessons continuing despite a great sense of shock.

Headmaster at the time John Young later reflected on the events of that day in an article for Sullivan Connect and said;

"I believe that what happened on that June day ... deserves a place in the annals of the school because it was by any standards a very remarkable event, but I also believe that what really deserves to be remembered (and celebrated too) is not that a very disturbed man attacked students with a home-made flame-thrower, but that so very many people in the school responded to this totally unexpected challenge so magnificently and in such thoughtful and considerate ways."

Read the full article.

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