Christina Edkins killing: Phillip Simelane detained

A passenger describes how she tried to help Christina, giving her CPR

Related Stories

A man who killed 16-year-old Christina Edkins on a rush-hour bus in Birmingham has been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.

Phillip Simelane, from Walsall, stabbed the teenager in a random attack as she made her way to school in March.

He had been released from prison, unsupervised, three months before the attack - despite warning signs over the state of his mental health.

The 23-year-old admitted manslaughter in a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mrs Justice Thirlwell, sentencing Simelane, said it was "likely to be a life-long order".

The judge added: "It is made for the nature of the offence and necessary to protect the public from serious harm."

She also expressed concern that Simelane had not been receiving treatment at the time of the killing.

Phillip Simelane under arrest Simelane was arrested a short distance from where the stabbing took place following a police search

Christina had been travelling to Leasowes High School in Halesowen on the number 9 bus, two weeks after her 16th birthday, when she was attacked.

Start Quote

The authorities didn't help him... just abandoned him”

End Quote Chris Melia Christina's great uncle

Simelane, who was sitting behind her on the upper deck, stabbed her in the chest as he walked past to get off.

He was arrested a few hours after the attack following an extensive manhunt.

Simelane had previously been in prison for threatening his own mother with a knife. West Midlands Police said they had been called to his mother's address in Walsall about 20 times.

Seven days after completing a 101-day prison term for the threats, he was convicted for interfering with a vehicle and possessing cocaine. He was released from jail on 13 December.

But, according to the police, because the crimes were deemed minor offences there was no policy to monitor Simelane after he left jail.

Simelane was on the bus for more than two-and-a-half hours

During his time in prison, concerns were raised about his mental health and notes were put on his police file for suicide and self-harming risk, as well as for violence and weapons use.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust provided psychiatric assessments for Simelane during his prison term.

Phillip Simelane

  • He was jailed last year for threatening his mother and had another conviction for violence
  • West Midlands Police said it had "no further contact" with Simelane between him leaving jail in December and the killing
  • Police said he was not under "any kind of care plan" after leaving prison
  • Simelane was homeless and unemployed at the time of the killing
  • He has "only recently" been diagnosed with schizophrenia, police said
  • Agencies involved in managing him before the attack are now undergoing independent reviews

It said it was conducting an external review, commissioned by Birmingham Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group, on behalf of all agencies involved in treating him.

In a statement, the trust promised a "thorough investigation", adding "we will seek to learn from and fully implement these findings across the healthcare providers involved".

Supt Richard Baker, who led the initial police investigation, said police and prison services were also carrying out reviews to determine what, if anything, could have been done to prevent Christina's death.

He said: "It was immediately apparent that Simelane suffered from mental health issues, and to this day we have not been able to interview him about what happened that day."

In court, Simelane entered his plea in front of more than 30 of Christina's friends and family, many wearing purple ribbons - Christina's favourite colour.

Killer 'abandoned'

Speaking afterwards, Christina's great uncle Chris Melia said: "We have no sense of vengeance or revenge. We just want him out of the way and [to] remember Christina.

"The authorities didn't help him, [they] just let him out of the prison door and let him go, just abandoned him.

"If there had been some help and authority he wouldn't have been on the bus."

Phillip Simelane Simelane was sitting behind Christina on the upper deck

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said CCTV captured Simelane carrying a white plastic bag containing what prosecutors said was a knife, 10in to 12in in length.

He said within seconds of Christina boarding the bus "the defendant got up and moved forwards three seats and pulled out the knife, which he then hid".

Simelane then walked towards where Christina was sitting, "leant closer to her", stabbed her and started to walk off, the court heard.

"Such was the nature of the attack, nobody else on the upper deck realised what had happened until Christina reacted," Mr Grieves-Smith said.

Friends lay flowers

Other passengers on the bus tried to treat and comfort Christina before paramedics arrived within minutes.

She was stabbed at about 07:30 and was confirmed dead about 30 minutes later.

Head teacher Neil Shaw: "Christina was a hardworking girl, really driven...bright and lively"

Following her death, friends gathered by Hagley Road in Birmingham to lay flowers in Christina's memory, while many more were left outside her school's gates.

A memorial garden dedicated to Christina is due to be opened at her former school on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the family, the great uncle said Christina was a "bright, beautiful girl" who was looking forward to her school prom and loved sports.

He added: "Her headmaster said, 'if a school could choose its pupils it would be full of Christinas'.

"Now the family asks the question - when this man was discharged from prison on 13 December 2012, why was the recommendation, made a few weeks earlier by mental health experts, that he be supervised after release whilst adjusting to life back in the community, not followed up?"

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

26 °C 17 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the hour 09:57: Kevin Pashby Journalist, BBC WM

    A bus driver in Birmingham is being investigated after he asked a boy with dwarfism to "prove he was disabled".

    In the news at 10:00, we'll hear from Kain Francis, from Kingstanding, who claims he's been refused travel on National Express Services five times because of the disability bike he uses to get around.

     
  2.  
    Feedback 09:50: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  3.  
    Mosque police surgery 09:41:

    Oldhill Cradley Heath police tweets: PCSO Blackford will be holding a police surgery at the Plant Street Mosque in Cradley Heath at 14:15 today, come along and pop in!

     
  4.  
    Wolverhampton sunshine 09:34: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I took this photo as I made my way into work this morning - there was beautiful sunshine over Wolverhampton - a great start to the morning.

    Sunrise over Wolverhampton

    And it looks like the sunshine will continue through the weekend too.

     
  5.  
    Child poverty in Birmingham 09:23: Midlands Today

    A report for the Labour Party claims nearly a third of children in Birmingham are living in poverty.

    The research raises concerns that as a result more young people are self harming, with a 20% increase in cases in the past year.

    The report, commissioned by MP Liam Byrne and Councillor John Cotton, calls for a new Child Poverty Commission to support parents.

     
  6.  
    Mayor of where? 09:12: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Every week BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James plays a game and asks his guests to play "Mayor of Where?"

    Greg James and Cheryl Cole and Wolverhampton mayor Michael Heap

    Yesterday Cheryl Cole was in the studio speaking to Michael Heap - attempting to guess where he was mayor.

    After three guesses (the first two were Sheffield and Doncaster) she realised he was from Wolverhampton. Hear what happened.

     
  7.  
    News headlines 09:00: Kevin Pashby Journalist, BBC WM

    The news headlines at 09:00:

    • A pregnant woman from Nigeria's says she's come to Birmingham to give birth for a second time on the NHS
    • Police in Birmingham have arrested two youths after a 16-year-old boy was stabbed in the back yesterday
    • Israel has acknowledged its own forces might have fired the missile which hit a United Nations-run school in Gaza, killing at least 15 people
     
  8.  
    Zoo break-in 08:55:

    Police say they've arrested three people after a break-in at Dudley Zoo overnight.

    Two men and a woman are in custody being questioned. Police say no animals were injured.

     
  9.  
    TOP HEADLINES
     
  10.  
    Boy with dwarfism 'barred from buses' 08:42:

    A boy with a form of dwarfism says he has been barred from Birmingham buses five times in a fortnight in a row over his bike.

    Kain Francis

    Kain Francis, 17, from Kingstanding, says the bike is a "lifeline" to a social life as he does not have much stamina to walk.

    Kain, who is 3ft 5in (1.04m) tall, says one driver asked him for proof he was disabled.

     
  11.  
    Teenager stabbed in Yardley 08:35: James Bovill Journalist, BBC WM

    This morning I'm at Oaklands Recreation Ground in Yardley reporting live for BBC WM, following the stabbing of a teenager here yesterday.

    Oaklands Recreation Ground in Yardley

    I've spoken to one dog walker who says he won't let his kids play here after what happened. Hear more shortly.

     
  12.  
    Park stabbing 08:27: BBC WM

    A 16-year-old boy's in hospital after being stabbed in the back in a Birmingham park.

    Two youths were arrested after a fight broke out at Oaklands Recreation Ground in Yardley yesterday afternoon, West Midlands Police says.

    It's the same park where Hassan Mahmood, 15, died after being stabbed in the back during a fight last July.

     
  13.  
    Car fire murder charge 08:15:

    A 34-year-old man has been charged with murder after a woman's body was discovered in a burning car in Erdington earlier this week.

    Damian Dinobewei, of Erdington, is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court later today.

     
  14.  
    Warm day ahead 08:06:

    Another fine, dry and warm day is expected with just a little cloud developing in places, mainly during the afternoon.

    Winds will remain light throughout the day, with a high of 27C (81F).

     
  15.  
    Good morning 08:00: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'm in Birmingham to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    If you want to get in touch today, email, tweet or message me via Facebook.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.