Bolton-le-Sands school plans tribute to tragic Joseph

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A headteacher is planning a permanent memorial to a six-year-old pupil who was stabbed to death by his father.

Tim Cross said he was talking to Joseph Chadwick’s grandparents about how the youngster could be remembered at Bolton-le-Sands CE Primary School.

The ‘fun-loving’ child was killed along with his mother Lisa Clay after Paul Chadwick repeatedly stabbed them at their family bungalow in the village’s Lowlands Road on April 9.

Joseph was found in his bedroom and Ms Clay, 40, in the hallway after a relative visited the address following unsuccessful attempts to contact them.

At Preston Crown Court on Friday, freelance gardener Chadwick, 34, who also stabbed himself several times, pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which previously authorised police to charge him with murder, accepted the pleas after psychiatric reports.

Mr Cross said a plaque, bench or tree could form part of a lasting tribute to Joseph, who had been at the 300-pupil primary school for one term.

“I went to speak to Joseph’s grandparents towards the end of the summer term, when things had calmed down a little bit, about whether there was something we could do,” he said. “It’s one of my objectives for this school to re-visit that.

“I have left it in the hands of Joseph’s grandparents to see what they want to do. I will contact them in the next week or two.

“We all miss Joseph. He was a lovely little boy. Two of his buddies still speak about him. We remember him by saying ‘we used to do this with Joseph, didn’t we’?

“I got to know his mum a little bit because they had to appeal to get a school place here. She was chatty and lovely. What happened was devastating and it still is.

“We hope that whatever happens to Paul he gets whatever help he can because clearly he’s very ill.”

Joseph, described as ‘cheeky and always smiling’ by his family, died just before summer term started, meaning most pupils were aware of the tragedy before returning to school.

Mr Cross praised the emotional help given to staff and pupils by the village church and Lancashire County Council as ‘superb’.

He said: “We had a great deal of support. Therapists and psychologists were in school. One or two children were particularly upset and received support over a few weeks.”

Detective Supt Andy Murphy, from Lancashire Police’s Major Investigation Team, said: “While we will probably never know exactly why Paul Chadwick did what he did I am satisfied with the guilty plea which at least spares the families the ordeal of a trial.”

Claire Hilton, senior prosecutor for CPS North West, added: “This is a tragic case involving the death of a mother and son who had their lives ahead of them.

“The psychiatric reports concluded that Mr Chadwick’s responsibility for his actions was substantially impaired at the time.

“We acknowledge that nothing can make up for the loss felt by the family and friends of Lisa Clay and Joseph Chadwick, and our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”

Chadwick, who is being held at Guild Lodge secure mental health unit in Preston, will be sentenced on October 30.