Thursday 22 February 2018

Teenager stabbed to death 'had tweeted about fears over man on bus'

Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Christina Edkins, 16, who was fatally stabbed on a bus in Birmingham this morning.
Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Christina Edkins, 16, who was fatally stabbed on a bus in Birmingham this morning.
The scene on Hagley Road, Birmingham where a schoolgirl was stabbed to death on a bus during the morning rush hour

A TEENAGER stabbed to death on her bus journey to school had tweeted just a few weeks ago about how she was scared of a man acting strangely on a bus.

Christina Edkins, described as a “bright and popular” 16-year-old, was killed in what police described as a “sporadic and very quick” attack in Birmingham.


Just weeks ago, on February 8, she had tweeted: "This man is worrying me on the bus keeps getting up and walking up and down stairs, and sitting in different place."


Police have said they were treating the murder as a “random attack” and did not believe Christina knew her killer.


But a spokesman said detectives were “looking at all lines of inquiry” and were aware of the tweet.


A 22-year-old man matching the description of the knife man was arrested hours after the attack after being seen “acting suspiciously” outside a Morrisons supermarket 100 yards from the scene.


Christina, who hoped to become a nurse, was described on a Facebook tribute website as a "beautiful angel". It also emerged that on February 23 she had tweeted about how much she "hated" buses and could not wait to start driving.


The teenager’s family were said to be “extremely distressed and distraught” while her head teacher said staff and fellow students at Leasowes High School in Halesowen were “deeply saddened”.


Christina was attacked in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham at around 7.30am


Police launched a manhunt involving more than 100 officers following the stabbing before making an arrest.


A spokesman said: “Police spotted a man acting suspiciously who fitted the description of the suspect, following a short footchase the man was arrested and is being held on suspicion of murder.”


The man was named locally as Phillip Simelane from Birmingham. Police did not confirm the name.


Forensic investigators were today working at the scene and CCTV footage was being trawled to try to find footage of the stabbing.


Christina’s family were being supported by specially-trained police liaison officers.


Neil Shaw, head teacher at Christina’s school, said: “Christina was a bright and popular student much loved by staff and students alike.


“We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news and our thoughts and hearts go out to her family and everyone who knew her.


“The school is working closely with the police and a team of counsellors to provide support to our pupils and staff.”


Detective Superintendent Richard Baker said: “This is a tragic case and the victim’s family are devastated.


“There will be a high police presence across the city this afternoon following this morning’s tragedy particularly on buses and in schools in the area to provide reassurance to local people.”


Police said they were alerted at 7.37am when the bus driver on the number nine route reported that a passenger had been wounded.


Det Supt Baker said: “The girl had been on the bus for a short period of time when the incident occurred,” he added. “It appears to have been quite a sporadic and very quick attack on the girl.”


He said police were investigating the possibility the murder was a random attack, adding: “We’re looking at a number of motives at the moment.”


Police urged any witnesses to come forward. No other passengers were injured in the stabbing incident.


Earlier, a man was detained by police in connection with the stabbing but later released without being arrested.


Early reports about the attack emerged on social networking sites. Darren Bent wrote: “Can’t believe some guy has just stabbed and killed a school girl right in front of my missus on the number nine bus on her way to work and she had to give CPR love you xxx the guy did it as bus was about to stop and ran off.”


- John-Paul Ford Rojas,


Press Association

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