Schoolgirl, 7, was 'grabbed off scooter and killed in one movement' in random park attack

Emily Jones, left, was stabbed at Queen's Park, Bolton. (PA/SWNS)
Emily Jones, left, was attacked at Queen's Park, Bolton. (PA/SWNS)

A seven-year-old girl who was visiting the park with 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, on 22 March 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.

The Police at the scene this morning at Queen's Park in Bolton, Gtr Manchester 23 March 2020. Where a seven-year-old girl was stabbed to death in a park and a woman in her 30s has been arrested .The tragic youngster was reportedly stabbed in Queen's Park in Bolton, Gtr Manchester, on Sunday 22.
A playground at Queen's Park, where Emily Jones was wounded on Mother's Day. (SWNS)

Opening the case, Brady said at around 2.15pm 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 her head off when she saw her mother.

At the same time Skana, originally from Albania, was 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, spotted the attack.

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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.

Mark 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 Jones was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital by air ambulance but was pronounced dead later.

A seven-year-old girl has died following a stabbing in a park and a woman in her 30s has been arrested, it has been reported.  See SWNS story SWLEstabbing.  The tragic youngster was reportedly stabbed in Queen's Park in Bolton, Gtr Manchester, earlier today (Sun).  Emergency services flooded the scene and cops put the 22 acre park, just north of Bolton town Centre, on lockdown just before 3pm.  All entrances to the park were taped off and families were told to leave the area as forensic officers carried out investigations at the scene.  Around ten police cars flocked to the scene and the North West Air Ambulance attended the park as medics desperately tried to save the youngster's life.  Eyewitnesses say they saw the victim being given CPR as two adults stood
Police watched over the scene in the aftermath of the incident. (SWNS)

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.”

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”.

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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.