‘There was blood all over the ground’: How stabbings brought horror to close-knit mining town

Police were quickly on the scene at Amman Valley School
Police were quickly on the scene at Amman Valley School - Robert Melen

It was just after 11.15am at Amman Valley School in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, when the public address system announced a “Code Red”.

The 1,800 pupils at the co-educational school, also known as Ysgol Dyffryn Aman, were on their morning break at the time and it was initially thought the school’s emergency protocol was a drill or had been triggered by a playground scuffle.

But as the children were placed into lockdown and dozens of police cars and two air ambulances arrived on the scene, it was clear something much more serious had taken place.

One teenage pupil explained how he immediately ran and vaulted the school fence when he heard the school was going into lockdown.

He said: “It was at the end of the morning break when I heard Code Red being called over the speakers. I’ve never heard one before but I knew what it meant.

“You’re supposed to run to a classroom but I was closer to the school fence so me and a few other boys jumped it.”

A Year 9 girl had allegedly produced a butterfly knife and had used it to stab a fellow pupil in the stomach and stab two female members of staff.

While one teacher was stabbed, the other was slashed across the neck with such ferocity that her lanyard was severed.

the school
The school was put into lockdown during the incident - Robert Melen/Shutterstock

As the horror unfolded in front of dozens of youngsters, a Year 11 teacher intervened, leaping towards the attacker and managing to disarm her.

One of the two women injured was understood to be assistant headteacher Fiona Elias.

Fiona Elias, who teaches Welsh anddrama, is said to be one of the victims
Fiona Elias, who teaches Welsh and drama, is said to be one of the victims

As armed police officers dashed into the school grounds, panic spread quickly throughout the close-knit community.

The school, which is rated Good by Ofsted, is at the heart of the former coal mining town, and boasts Welsh rugby stars Shane Williams and Hannah Jones among its former pupils.

Within minutes, social media reports suggested a knife-wielding pupil had gone on the rampage, prompting terrified parents desperate for information to rush to the school.

Paramedics, who had arrived at the scene in four ambulances, gave emergency care to the most injured teacher, before carrying her to the air ambulance.

She was then transferred to hospital in Cardiff, where her condition was later described as not life-threatening.

‘It was horrible’

Grandmother Maria Davies, 50, who witnessed the aftermath, said: “She didn’t look very good – there were medics all around her.”

A male pupil said: “It was horrible, there was blood all over the ground but I didn’t panic.

“Both teachers were badly hurt but one was stabbed in the neck. She is one of the best teachers here, everybody likes her.”

Armed officers arrested a teenage girl on suspicion of attempted murder and took her away for questioning, while a blade was recovered from the scene.

But as the investigation began and forensic officers arrived, the pupils remained in lockdown with their parents at the gates, uncertain what was going on.

Forensic officers have been working at the scene
Forensic officers have been working at the scene - Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Dyfed-Powys Police issued a statement in an attempt to reassure them, saying an arrest had been made and they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the stabbings.

But some were angry at the lack of information and not being allowed to see their children.

One said: “It is agony not knowing what has gone on. We just heard there had been stabbings and the school and so we came here as fast as we could.”

Footage of the alleged incident posted online fuelled deep concern among many of the parents.

Eventually at 3.30pm, the almost 2,000 pupils were allowed to leave the school grounds.

Many were hugged by their emotional parents as they left the school gates, but concern remained over the welfare of those injured.

Just after 6pm, Supt Ross Evans read a statement at the scene in which he confirmed that none of the three had suffered life-threatening injuries.

He said: “Dyfed-Powys Police continue to investigate the serious incident that took place at Amman Valley School in Carmarthenshire this morning.

“We received a call just after 11.20am advising us people were injured following an incident at the school.

“Emergency services immediately attended, and the school was locked down for the safety of everyone on the premises.

“Two teachers and a teenage pupil were taken to hospital with stab wounds. Their injuries are not life threatening.

“A teenage girl has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and currently remains in police custody. A knife has been recovered as evidence.

“Local people will see more police in the area over the coming days as the investigation continues.”

He added: “We are working with the school and other agencies to ensure appropriate support is available to all those involved.

“This was a very distressing incident, and our thoughts are with the victims, their family and everyone impacted by what has happened.”