A seven-year-old girl randomly stabbed to death in a park “had a heart as big as her smile”, her parents said.
Emily Jones was attacked by a stranger in Queen’s Park, Bolton, on Sunday and died a short time later.
On Wednesday, her parents, who witnessed the stabbing, said: “Emily was seven years old, our only child and the light of our lives.
“She was always full of joy, love and laughter.
“Emily had such a cheeky smile and was beautiful inside and out. She had a heart as big as her smile.”
In a tribute issued through Greater Manchester Police, they added: “Emily was never happier than when she was spending time with her family and friends, she was our own little social butterfly.
“Emily had a passion for the outdoors and loved to play any sport, even when she was wearing her pink sparkly dresses.
“We are beyond devastated that this random act of violence means that we will never get to see our beautiful little girl grow up into the wonderful young lady she was showing such promise of becoming.
“It is truly heartbreaking to wake up to a world without Emily in it and we cannot comprehend why this has happened.
“We would like to thank the members of the public that assisted us in the park and express our gratitude to the emergency services for doing their utmost to save Emily’s life.
“Thank you to everyone for their kind messages of support and for continuing to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
A 30-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and was later detained under the Mental Health Act.
Detectives are continuing to appeal for information about the incident, which took place shortly before 2.35pm.
Anyone with any information should contact police on 0161 856 8797 or 101 quoting incident number 1430 of 22/03/20, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with any images or footage that could help inquiries should send them to email@example.com.
Information can also be passed to police anonymously, via the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.