A LITTLE girl called out to her mum before a stranger slit her throat in a random Mother’s Day park attack, a murder trial heard today.
Eltiona Skana, 30, is accused of murdering Emily Jones after slashing her neck with a craft knife while she played on her scooter.
Emily had visited Queen’s Park in Bolton with her father Mark Jones and mother Sarah Barnes on March 22.
The little girl had been doing “laps” on her scooter and spotted her mother in the distance.
She told her father, “Daddy, daddy. I want to go to mum” and she’d scooted off.
Emily also called out to her mother, who didn’t hear her due to distance between them and the fact she was hearing headphones.
Mr Brady said: “Emily’s path towards her mum took her passed 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.”
Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Skana – said to have mental health issues – was sat on bench and armed with a craft knife that was one of a pack of three she’d bought earlier that day from a shop in Bolton town centre.
Prior to the attack, which happened around 2.15pm, a woman – believed to be Skana – had been spotted in the park by a witness who described her as as looking “agitated” and a with “vacant” look on her face.
Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, 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.
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 a passer-by, Tony Canty, who been out for a walk with his wife and daughter witnessed Skana “manhandling” and “screaming” at Emily and pushing her to the ground.
Skana, originally from Albania but who’s been living in the UK since 2014, 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.
Mr Brady said that as Mr Canty sat on top Skana she started rambling about the “Home Office, her family and that he had killed ‘the girl.’”
When Mr Canty telephoned and told them that a young girl had been involved, Skana responded: “I’m a girl, I’m a child.”
Mr Brady told the court that Emily’s father had seen a person on the bench standing over his daughter but he’d assumed Emily had fallen off her scooter and was being helped up.
But he’d then heard a woman shout: “She’s been stabbed”.
Mr Jones saw the defendant run off in “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, Mr Brady said.
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 who been called to scene battle to try to save Emily.
But Emily had suffered a cardiac arrested and was airlifted to Salford Royal hospital, where was pronounced dead shortly before 4pm.
Prior to the attack, witness Ian Robinson had noticed a woman, matching Skana’s description, who was sat cross-legged next to bench in the park.
Mr Brady said: “His attention was drawn to her because he what he described as he agitated demeanour. He noticed that she had a vacant look on her face and did not appear with it and did not seem to fit into her surroundings.”
Another witness, Hassan Ahmed, who’d seen the attack, described seeing the defendant lying on the bench before standing up, putting her hood up and grabbing Emily from behind.
He’d 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 said.
Mr Amhed then saw Emily “hold her throat” and the defendant push her to the ground before running off.
Skana, of Turnstone Road, Bolton, appeared over a video link from high-security Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire and has previously admitted a charge of manslaughter.
But she denies murdering Emily.
Mr Brady said police who arrested her noticed she had wires wrapped around her toes that she was tightening.
When asked what they were for, she replied: “To help with my emotions.”
She was later assessed by a psychiatrist Dr Farrell and told him that she was a “not very well” and paranoid schizophrenic and it led to her “hearing voices, hallucinating, and I get violent”.
Skana denied any recollection of stabbing Emily, but he believed this was due to a desire on her part not to discuss it rather than a lapse of memory.
He concluded that she had an “an established history” of paranoid schizophrenia displayed signs of “active psychosis including paranoia, possible delusional experiences, some irritability and was extremely guarded.”
Skana was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act.
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