Man pleads guilty to killing school girl on a bus

02/10/2013

A man who stabbed a girl to death on a bus as she headed to school has today pleaded to her manslaughter.

Phillip Simelane appeared at Birmingham Crown Court today and admitted responsibility for the death of 16-year-old Christina Edkins.

The 22-year-old defendant had boarded the number 9 bus on the morning of 21 February 2013 which was heading into the city. He remained on the bus as it made its return journey along the Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The victim got onto the bus to get to Leasowes High School, Halesowen where she was a student and sat on the upper level where the defendant was also seated.

As he was about to leave the bus, he approached Christina, produced a knife and fatally stabbed her.

The bus driver was made aware of what happened and he along with fellow passengers tried to administer first aide. Emergency services were quickly on the scene, but they were unable to save her life.

A few hours later, Simelane was arrested by the police close to the scene of the attack.

Hayley Firman, Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit, said:

"Following expert medical advice from the prosecution and defence psychiatrists into Philips Simelane's mental health, it became apparent that the defendant is a paranoid schizophrenic and has suffered from this illness for many years. It is this illness which provides the explanation for his actions on the bus that morning when he brutally stabbed Christina Edkins and therefore, the prosecution team has decided to accept his guilty plea today to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

"The defendant had been riding the bus that morning in possession of a large knife. As Christina got on the bus and sat on the upper level, he got up from his seat, approached the victim, stabbed her once in the chest and left the bus. She would die from her injuries at the scene of the attack.

"A large scale police manhunt was immediately launched and Simelane was arrested shortly after the attack and was detained under the Mental Health Act. 

"Our thoughts are today with the family, friends and teachers of Christina and we hope that today's guilty verdict brings a sense of closure to them and that they can now move on with their lives."