A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a 15-year-old who was fatally stabbed outside his school gates.
A murder inquiry was launched after the teenager died in hospital following an attack close to the entrance of North Huddersfield Trust School (NHTS) in Woodhouse Hill at 2.45pm on Wednesday, West Yorkshire Police said.
The force has now confirmed a 16-year-old was arrested at an address in Huddersfield shortly before 5am on Thursday in connection with the incident.
A spokesperson added: “He remains in custody and inquiries are ongoing, led by detectives from West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.”
The victim was treated at the scene and taken to Leeds General Infirmary for emergency surgery, according to police.
He was pronounced dead a short time later, and detectives from the force’s Homicide and Major Inquiry Team are leading the investigation.
Mr Fell said in a statement: “It is with enormous sadness that I must tell you that following an incident on Woodhouse Hill Road yesterday one of our pupils has tragically lost their life.
“The pupil was taken by ambulance to hospital after the incident but despite the most valiant of efforts, medical staff were unable to save their life.
“This is truly shocking news for our pupils, your children and our staff. We will be providing specialist support for any among our community who feel they could benefit.”
The statement said the school will not open until 10.30am on Thursday and then only to students who need support.
A police cordon blocking the pavement on a section of Woodhouse Hill was in place on Thursday morning, and floral tributes have been left at the scene.
Afiya Mahmood, 39, who lives opposite the school, told the PA news agency: “I work from home and my husband messaged me to say someone had been stabbed outside the school. It must have been about half-an-hour after the incident had happened.
“I could see the boy from the window, and the paramedics working on the child. There was blood but they’ve washed it away now.
“There were a lot of paramedics, about 15 or 20, or that’s what it felt like anyway. Then they took him away.
“It’s very overwhelming, distressing. It’s shocking, it’s just a young boy isn’t it.”
Billy Shankland attended the scene with his son, a Year 7 pupil at the school, to lay flowers by the cordon.
He said: “It’s awful, I’ve got a child within the same age group, I can’t imagine what the family’s going through.
“He didn’t know the boy, but he’s got friends who did. It’s a shock.
“It is very (concerning) because we don’t know if it’s targeted or random – for us, anything could be happening. It’s scary.”
Mr Fell said: “West Yorkshire Police have launched an urgent investigation, so it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time.
“I would urge everyone not to engage in speculation about possible causes or perpetrators and allow the police to make their inquiries. A statement has been released.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the pupil’s family and friends who must feel, as we do, completely devastated. They have lost a loved one and we have lost a wonderful student from our school community.”
Lucy Smith, who lives near the school, attended the scene to leave a poem she had written on the railings outside.
She said: “I think we’re all in shock, I’ve got two teenagers roughly the same age and anyone with a family must be feeling shocked and saddened.
“It was really important for me to come here, when things like this happen, to do something that can just help us feel better when we are all feeling completely powerless in the face of violence and thinking about a family that must be falling apart today.”
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes said police have identified a number of witnesses to the incident.
“Our investigation is still at a very early stage, and we will be carrying out extensive inquiries to establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident that has resulted in the absolutely senseless loss of a young life,” he said.
“We recognise that an incident of this nature will cause understandable shock and concern in the community, and we are working closely alongside our colleagues at Kirklees District who are increasing their presence in the area to reassure people and keep them updated as our investigation progresses.
“We have already identified a number of witnesses to the incident itself but would still like to hear from anyone who has any information that could assist the investigation.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat quoting crime reference 13220521713.