Hero teacher restrained school stabber, says brother

Darrel Campbell
Darrel Campbell, a teacher with 40 years of experience, was the first on the scene of the incident [Family Photo]

A hero teacher "tried to restrain the girl with the knife" at the school stabbing in south-West Wales, his brother has said.

Darrel Campbell, who has been praised online, acted "instinctively" and did "what most people would have done when people's lives were under threat" said his brother, politician Cefin Campbell.

Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, went into lockdown for about four hours on Wednesday after two teachers and a teenage pupil were taken to hospital - including head of Year 7 Fiona Elias - with non life-threatening stab wounds.

A teenage girl arrested on suspicion of attempted murder is still in custody and all three victims have now been discharged from hospital, Dyfed-Powys Police said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday morning police said they also arrested another teenager from the Cross Hands area on suspicion of making threats which referenced the school incident.

Darrel's brother Cefin Campbell, a Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd (MS), said he was "proud" of his sibling's actions at the secondary school on Wednesday.

Darrel was praised as a hero online, but Cefin said his brother "hates the whole attention this incident has led to because he's a bit of an unassuming guy".

The teacher retired last year but was re-hired on a part-time basis.

Cefin was in a meeting at the time of the attack and, when he was able to look at his phone, the family WhatsApp had 60 messages.

"Some of my own children were sending videos that had been circulating social media and one was of my brother restraining the girl that is currently being questioned by the police.

"I thought 'what the heck is going on', I tried to get in touch with my brother but I failed to."

He said not being able to get in contact was "scary" because he had "very little information".

Fiona Elias
BBC Wales has been told that one of the injured teachers is Fiona Elias [BBC]

Cefin said: "I spoke to him yesterday, he's shaken by the whole events of yesterday but more than that, he's been a teacher there for 40 years and he's never ever seen an incident - or even close to this - in the school before."

Darrel will go back to work when it reopens, he added.

"He wants to be there, with the other staff members, to support each other and to support the pupils that are under their care."

In a message on the school's website, head teacher James Durbridge said there had been a "calm and mature response" to the lockdown.

"Today has been a very difficult day... It goes without saying that my thoughts are with the three individuals and their families, who have been affected by today's incident," he wrote.

"We are proud to have witnessed pupils embodying the school's core values while supporting their peers and staff."

The school remained closed on Thursday, but Mr Durbridge said support would be available to anyone affected.

Crowds of parents lined up outside the school
Crowds of parents lined up outside the school to hear news of their children following the incident [BBC]

Emergency services - including two air ambulance helicopters - were sent to the school shortly after 11:20 BST.

Hundreds of parents then lined the school gates waiting to hear news of the safety of their children locked inside.

It was not until about 15:20 that the secondary school announced the situation had been "contained" and police began letting children leave.

Ysgol Dyffryn Aman - which translates as Amman Valley School in English - is a bilingual comprehensive school in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.

The school, which educates 11 to 18-year-olds, has about 1,450 pupils.

It's about 20 miles (32km) from the centre of Swansea.

Police were at the scene on Thursday continuing their investigation.

Supt Ross Evans said: “Officers at the scene will be looking for evidence to assist the investigation, while other specialist teams will analyse any information submitted through our dedicated web page."

He urged those affected to seek support and "not to share any videos, photos or information that might cause further distress to pupils or parents at the school".

Making threats arrest

Meanwhile, Dyfed-Powys Police said the teenager from the Cross Hands area remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of making threats. Police are said to have recovered a BB gun.

Officers carried out a warrant at his home following reports about threatening messages being sent on social media, which led to his arrest during the early hours of Thursday morning.

Supt Evans said: “We would like to thank the many members of the public who reported concerns around messages they had seen online. This allowed us to take swift action in executing a warrant and arresting a suspect.

“While this investigation is being run separately to our enquiries into the major incident at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman yesterday, our officers will be seeking to establish both the credibility of the threats, and whether there was any connection between the alleged offences."