A seven-year-old girl who was visiting the park with her parents on Mother’s Day had her throat slit with a craft knife in a random attack, a court has been told.
Emily Jones was riding on a scooter in Queen’s Park, Bolton in Greater Manchester, on March 22 when she called out to her mother Sarah Barnes and passed Eltiona Skana, jurors were told.
“Emily’s path towards her mum took her past the defendant who, as Emily scooted by, grabbed her and in one movement slit her throat with the craft knife and then threw her to the ground,” Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, told Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court.
“There had been no interaction between Emily and the defendant. The wound was un-survivable and Emily died shortly thereafter.”
Skana, 30, denies murder but has admitted manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.
Opening the case, Brady said at around 2.15pm (local time) that day Emily’s father took her to the park on her scooter while her mother had gone for a run.
The court heard her parents are not together but are on good terms and her father Mark let Emily head off when she saw her mother.
At the same time Skana, originally from Albania, sat alone on a park bench armed with the knife she had bought earlier that day.
Skana ran away after the attack but Tony Canty and his wife Lynsey, out for a walk in the park with their baby daughter Laurel, spotted the attack.
Canty handed his baby daughter to his wife, ran after Skana, barged her to the ground and straddled her to detain her until police arrived.
Skana began “rambling and raving”, mentioning the Home Office, her family and said: “I’m a girl, I’m a child”, the court heard.
Mr Jones “cradled Emily from behind and shouted for help”, Brady said.
“Emily hadn’t moved and said nothing.
“A member of the public took off his shirt and handed it to Mr Jones to try and stem the flow of blood.
“Somebody else, who Mr Jones believed to be a trained nurse, took over first-aid. Mr Jones was, of course, frantic.”
Emily was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital by air ambulance but was pronounced dead later.
Police watched over the scene in the aftermath of the incident.
In a statement read to the jury, her father said: “I do not know why this happened. Emily was simply riding her scooter to her mum. I simply can’t explain it.”
Accused showed ‘indifference’ to the killing, court hears
Skana told a psychiatrist she was a paranoid schizophrenic, that she had been “psychotic, hearing and seeing things” and was “perfectly normal” before arriving in the UK and claiming asylum in 2014.
The court heard she began laughing when she saw a child who looked like Jones on TV and showed “indifference” to the killing, speaking with a “smirk”.
Speaking to a nurse at Rampton Hospital, Skana said: “Like I said, it’s been three months, what do you want me to do, cry all the time?”
She later told the same nurse: “It was premediated, I waited in a park and picked my victim, I did what I did, then tried to run away.”
Brady told jurors the main issue was whether Skana’s paranoid schizophrenia is the reason behind the killing of Emily or her illness is simply “a convenient excuse behind which to hide”.
The trial continues.
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