‘Outrage’: Girl’s throat randomly slashed
It was a perfect sunny day when seven-year-old Emily Jones was zipping along on her scooter, spending the day with her family.
It was Mother's Day and Emily was planning to get some ice cream with her father Mark Jones and mother Sarah Barnes. Then the unthinkable happened.
Emily spotted her mother coming back from a jog and rode her scooter towards her, yelling, "Mummy, mummy, mummy!"
A woman sitting on a park bench sprang up, grabbed Emily, put her in a headlock and cut her throat with a knife.
Emergency services were called to the scene in Bolton, UK, but she was pronounced dead in hospital.
Eltiona Skana, an Albanian national who has paranoid schizophrenia, has been on trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court after pleading not guilty to murder.
Skana has admitted the manslaughter of Emily on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Yesterday Skana, 30, was cleared of murder after the prosecution offered no further evidence and withdrew the charge.
Justice Wall will sentence Skana for manslaughter on Tuesday (UK time).
Now her father has recalled the harrowing moment he knew Emily was going to die.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Jones said he ran towards Emily after the stabbing.
"I was absolutely terrified. I just knew it was so bad. You don't survive these things," he said.
"I just thought, 'Oh my God, I'm going to lose her, I'm going to lose her.'
"I was shouting, 'Just stay with me Emily, stay with me. Don't leave me.'
"She was just trying to breathe. It was just horrific. I wouldn't wish anybody to see that happen to their own daughter. On occasions I will go back there. I try not to.
"But I can just remember her trying to breathe. Just to see your child in that way. I thought, 'This can't be happening. This can't be happening to Emily.'"
Mr Jones said Skana was a "ticking time bomb" who should be locked up for the rest of her life.
"I think she is vile," he said. "How dare she take my child away from me."
Skana came to the UK in 2014 and had been taking injections of antipsychotic drugs since 2017, the BBC reports.
When police raided her apartment, they found as stash of untaken, antipsychotic drugs - about a month's worth of medication.
From December 2019 until March 11, Skana had no face-to-face contact with her mental health workers, the jury heard.
She had stabbed her mother in 2017 and in another incident, attacked her sister. She was admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times.
Despite this, the local NHS mental health trust found that Emily's death could not have been predicted or prevented.
Mr Jones said that outcome was "absolute nonsense".
"They are just trying to relinquish all responsibility - and she was their responsibility," he said.
"I want the horrible story of what happened to my daughter to be told.
"It was Mother's Day, of all days, when Mum and Dad were in the park with her.
"It's not that I want people to feel sorry for us, but it needs to be told because it's an absolute public outrage."
ATTACK OUT OF NOWHERE
Michael Brady QC, who had opened the case for the prosecution, said, "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.
"There had been no interaction between Emily and the defendant. The wound was unsurvivable and Emily died shortly after."
Prior to the attack, a woman - believed to be Skana - had been spotted in the park by a witness who described her as looking "agitated" and a with "vacant" look on her face.
Mr Brady told the court that although Emily's mother was no longer in a relationship with her father she'd gone for a run in the park and had arranged to meet both of them there.
After the attack Skana ran off, still armed with the knife but at some point placed it in her backpack, where it was later recovered.
Mr Brady said passer-by Tony Canty, who was out for a walk with his wife Lynsey and their daughter witnessed Skana "manhandling" and "screaming" at Emily and pushing her to the ground.
Skana was said to have screamed, "She tried to kill me."
She then repeated it as she ran past Mr Canty.
At that stage, Mr Canty "had no idea how serous the situation was, he hadn't seen a knife and didn't realise that Emily had been fatally wounded", Mr Brady said.
But he was "sufficiently" concerned to run after Skana, with his wife shouting after him that she had a knife.
He briefly lost sight of Skana but soon caught up with her and either "barged or pushed" her to the ground.
Skana fell on to her back and Mr Canty was able to detain her until the police arrived by sitting on top of her.
Emily's father had seen Skana run off in an "awkward manner" with something "dark and quite long" in her hand.
He went to Emily and saw she was bleeding from the neck and tried to comfort her.
She hadn't moved or said anything and a member of the public handed him his shirt to try and stem the flow of blood from Emily's neck.
A woman, believed to be a trained nurse, took over first aid and by this stage Mr Jones was "frantic".
Emily's "inconsolable" mother then arrived and they witnessed paramedics battle to try and save Emily.
But Emily had suffered a cardiac arrested and was airlifted to Salford Royal hospital, where was pronounced dead shortly before 4pm.
Other witnesses said they'd seen Skana lying on the bench before standing up, putting her hood up and grabbing Emily from behind.
One said he had seen Skana's arm "cut Emily's throat" with what he assumed was a knife.
"It all happened so quickly that Emily didn't have time to react," Mr Brady told the court.
Originally published as 'Outrage': Girl's throat randomly slashed