Former pupil pays tribute to 'loved' teacher stabbed to death in Paris

Former pupil pays tribute to 'loved' teacher stabbed to death in Paris
John Dowling

Latest: A former student of John Dowling has said that she is in shock following his death.

The 66-year-old teacher was stabbed to death yesterday in Paris on the university campus where he had worked as an English teacher for nearly 20 years.

Speaking to Sean O'Rourke this morning, Paris-based journalist Peter Allen said that Mr Dowling had gone out for his lunch and was seen speaking with a former student for a minute or so before the man reportedly stabbed Mr Dowling "13 times".

It is not yet known whether the man was previously a student of Mr Dowling's.

Mr Allen said that the area was quite busy at the time of the attack.

A man in his late 30s was arrested at the scene and remains in custody.

Ann Bertrand, a former student of John Dowling's, spoke to Sean O'Rourke this morning.

Mr. Dowling was her English teacher in 2010/11.

"He was loved by everyone," said Ms Bertrand.

He was someone who was simply pleasant to be around. He had an enormous sense of humour.

"You could say he was a role model."

Ms Bertrand said that he was modest, successful and was loved by everyone both professionally and personally.

Recalling her time in Mr Dowling's class, she said that the students would be laughing all the time while they learned.

You can listen to the full interview below:

Tributes paid to 'passionate' teacher who was stabbed to death in Paris

Tributes are being paid to Dublin man John Dowling who was stabbed to death yesterday in Paris.

The 66-year-old was attacked on the university campus in the west of the city where he had worked as an English teacher for nearly 20 years.

First aid and Police vehicles at the scene the main entrance of the private Leonard-de-Vinci university yesterday. Pic: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images
First aid and Police vehicles at the scene the main entrance of the private Leonard-de-Vinci university yesterday. Pic: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Editor of news site 'The Local France' Ben McPartland says John was popular among students.

"There's the immediate reaction among students and colleagues all who were in shock, we spoke to a couple of students yesterday...John was such a popular teacher.

He was well-known, well liked, motivated, passionate - these are all words that were used by students.

A man in his late 30s was arrested at the scene and remains in custody.

Police are trying to establish a motive for the attack.

The fatal attack happened around lunchtime yesterday on the campus of Léonard de Vinci University in the La Defense district.

In a statement, the University said the attacker was a former student who had failed to complete his course.

The French Higher Education Minister has expressed her condolences to Mr Dowling's family.

Police at the scene. Picture: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Police at the scene. Picture: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

The college says everyone is shocked by the violent death of a teacher who was respected and loved by all.

Mr Dowling had been teaching English in the college since 1999 and was thought to be nearing retirement.

Counsellors will be on campus today to help staff and students who are still coming to terms with the tragedy.

Mr McPartland says the whole education sector is in shock.

"This has gone right up to the minister for education, the government, this is a teacher who has been killed on the job," said Mr McPartland.

"The whole education sector is in shock, not just the Irish community, the ex-pat community, the students, the university itself.

"This has gone far and wide. There is real shock and worry about what happened."

Digital Desk

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