The father of seven-year-old Emily Jones, who was knifed to death in a Bolton park by a stranger on Mother’s Day, has described her as “the beat of our heart, the spring in our step.”
His daughter’s killer, Eltiona Skana, 30, has been sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of eight years.
She will initially be treated at Rampton high security hospital under section 45A of the Mental Health Act 2003.
Skana had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Emily had been take to Queen’s Park in Bolton by her father Mark Jones on 22 March as her mother, Sarah Barnes, jogged nearby.
As Emily rode her scooter and called out to her mother, Skana jumped up from a bench, grabbed her, and slit her throat with a craft knife.
In an impact statement read to Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Mr Jones said: “The last nine months have been spent in limbo, we cannot move on because at the present time we cannot see a future.”
A murder trial in Manchester last week heard that Skana was an incurable paranoid schizophrenic who had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication since attacking her own mother and sister in 2017.
Skana, who came to the UK from Albania in 2014, had not been taking her medication before the attack, which the court heard can be a symptom of psychiatric illness.
The sentencing hearing heard that Skana’s symptoms had worsened three months before she killed Emily and she had unsuccessfully tried to get help.
The trial ended on Friday with Skana found not guilty of murder after the prosecution offered no further evidence and withdrew the charge.
Sentencing Skana, after reading psychiatric reports and hearing evidence from a consultant psychiatrist, Mr Justice Wall told Skana she had deliberately bought the craft knife with the intention of killing someone.
“You retained a real understanding of the nature of your actions … which you knew to be wrong,” he said.
At the opening of the sentencing hearing, the judge said “people involved in the case” had been threatened online since the not guilty verdict was returned last week on his instructions.
He said he had referred the threats and the publication online of a lawyer’s contact details to the attorney general as potential contempt of court.
The judge also revealed that Greater Manchester Police are investigating a potential criminal offence after a photo of Skana, which he said appeared to have been taken from the court viewing gallery, was published online.
It is illegal to take photographs on court premises.
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