• Christina Edkins attacked in Hagley Road, Birmingham, at 7.37am
  • Stabbed on top deck minutes after boarding bus to Leasowes High School
  • Man, 22, arrested hours later, now being questioned on suspicion of murder
  • Post mortem revealed today she died from ‘single stab wound to the chest’
  • Witness claims she gave CPR to dying Christina until medics arrived
  • Weeks earlier she sent ‘worried’ tweet over man acting strangely on bus

By
Matt Blake

11:29, 8 March 2013


|

13:24, 8 March 2013

Detectives investigating the death of a teenager fatally stabbed on a bus as she travelled to school yesterday have released a photo of their prime suspect to help them trace his movements.

Wearing a black hoodie with a
distinctive ‘tiger’ motif, the man was captured on CCTV getting
off a bus in Birmingham city centre on the morning Christina Edkins, 16, was brutally murdered.

The schoolgirl, who had tweeted
of fears about men following her on public transport weeks earlier, was in her
uniform on the top deck of the Number 9 bus when she
was killed by a single stab wound to the chest, police said.

Hours later, a 22-year-old man was arrested after he was spotted ‘acting furtively’ 100 yards from where the attack took place. He was today being questioned at a police station in the city on suspicion of murder.

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Suspect: Detectives are asking anyone who saw this man between 6 am and 1pm yesterday to contact them, even if they were on the bottom deck of the bus and did not witness the stabbing

Suspect: Detectives are asking anyone who saw this man between 6 am and 1pm yesterday to contact them, even if they were on the bottom deck of the bus and did not witness the stabbing

But today, West Midlands Police took the unusual step of releasing this grainy image of the suspect getting off a bus in the area around the time of Christina’s slaying.

They are urging anyone who saw him between 6am and 1pm yesterday to contact the incident room, even if they were on the bottom deck of the bus and did not witness the stabbing.

The man,
described as black and in his early 20s, was also carrying a white bag, police said.

Tragic: Christina Edkins, 16, was in her uniform on the top deck of the bus in Birmingham city centre when she was stabbed in the chest by a man

Tragic: Christina Edkins, 16, was in her uniform on the top deck of the bus in Birmingham city centre when she was stabbed in the chest by a man

He is known to have travelled on a number of buses on the morning of the murder.

Det Supt Richard Baker said: ‘We know there are a number of passengers who were on the bus yesterday morning when Christina was attacked while she was sitting upstairs.

‘Some of these passengers were
sitting downstairs on the bus and they haven’t yet spoken to police.
They may not even have known what happened but may have vital evidence
and it is crucial they contact us as soon as possible.

‘Yesterday’s
events were truly tragic and it’s extremely important everyone comes
forward and speaks to us. We will also be able to signpost them to
professional agencies who can help them come to terms with being witness
to such a tragedy.’

The appeal came as a post mortem
revealed Christina died from a single stab wound to the chest as
horrified commuters looked on.

Some fought to save her life but Christina, who was travelling alone, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly afterwards.

As tributes to the tragic teenager poured in on social networking sites set up in her memory, some used message boards to ask why nobody apprehended the man as he waited patiently to get off the bus as Christina lay dying upstairs.

It prompted one woman, who claimed to have administered CPR to Christina until emergency crews arrived, to hit back, writing on Facebook (all sic): ‘Right i wasnt go to say anything but some of you idiots that know nothing need to wind your neck in, i was on that bus i knew what he had done and he was stood next to me when he was getting off, all i could think of was i hope he gets off this stop so i can go upstairs and help the girl.

‘Thankfully he got off and i was able to go upstairs and help the girl as best i could i gave CPR until medics arrived and am deeply traumatised i could not save her.

‘I certainly wasnt going to confront a knifeman knowing he had just stabbed someone i thought he may stab me too all i cared about was getting up to the girl to help, so all of you who wasnt there shut the hell up would ny of you apprehended a knifeman i dont bloody think so, have some respect for her family and stop speculating about things you know nothing about.’

School children lay flowers near to where schoolgirl Christina Edkins was fatally stabbed on a bus yesterday on the Hagley Road in Birmingham
A woman lays flowers near to where schoolgirl Christina Edkins was fatally stabbed on a bus yesterday on the Hagley Road in Birmingham

Respects: As police continued to question their 22-year-old suspect, friends and strangers visited the scene to lay flowers

Tributes: A man inspects floral tributes near to where Miss Edkins died.

Tributes: A man inspects floral tributes near to where Miss Edkins died. Christina, who recently turned 16, had also told friends she hated travelling on public transport, saying she could not wait for her next birthday when she could start to drive

Meanwhile, as police continued to question their suspect, a shrine of flowers grew at the scene with friends and strangers laying bouquets, many containing tribute messages.

Last night, friends and family paid tribute to the victim, describing her as a ‘bright and popular’ young girl.

Her parents Jason, 42, and Kathleen, 47, and siblings Joanne, 24, and Ryan, 18, were said to be ‘deeply distressed’.

Police said they were treating the murder as a ‘random attack’ and do not believe Christina knew her killer.

Tributes: A shrine grew near to where Miss Edkins died today as people laid floral tributes at the scene.
'Sweet dreams': A bouquet with a message of tribute lies at the scene

‘Sweet dreams’: Many of the bouquets left at the scene contained messages to the schoolgirl

'In loving memory': The teenager, who wanted to become a nurse, was killed as she travelled to school to sit a mock GCSE exam, friends said

‘In loving memory’: The teenager, who wanted to become a nurse, was killed as she travelled to school to sit a mock GCSE exam, friends said

Only
weeks ago, however, she had told friends about a strange man lurking
near her on the bus. ‘This man is worrying me on the bus, keeps getting
up and walking up and down stairs and sitting in different places,’ she
wrote on Twitter.

Christina,
who recently turned 16, had also told friends she hated travelling on
public transport, saying she could not wait for her next birthday when
she could start to drive.

In
other messages on Twitter, she wrote of feeling unable to trust more
than a few people in her life and just the day before she was killed she
asked her followers: ‘Why can’t something go right for once?’

The teenager, who wanted to become a nurse, was killed as she travelled to school to sit a mock GCSE exam, friends said.

She had got on the First West
Midlands number 9 bus at about 7.30am close to her home in Birmingham
city centre and was travelling to Leasowes Community College in
Halesowen, about five miles away.

Shortly after she got on the bus and
sat on the top deck, a man who was already on board suddenly pounced,
knifing her to death in a ‘sporadic and very quick’ attack.

Held: A 22-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of her murder after a huge manhunt was launche

Held: A 22-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of her murder after a huge manhunt was launched

Rush-hour horror: Police and paramedics at the scene in Hagley Road, Birmingham, where the schoolgirl was stabbed to death on a bus

Rush-hour horror: Police and paramedics at the scene in Hagley Road, Birmingham, where the schoolgirl was stabbed to death on a bus

Top deck: Christina was attacked on the top deck of a Number 9 bus service travelling through Birmingham city centre. (Pictured: a quiet Number 9 bus 24 hours after the killing)

Top deck: Christina was attacked on the top deck of a Number 9 bus service travelling through Birmingham city centre. (Pictured: a quiet Number 9 bus 24 hours after the killing)

Witnesses said she was stabbed in her neck as the bus was slowing for the next stop, allowing her attacker to escape.

The driver called 999 and horrified passengers gave Christina CPR at the scene on Hagley Road, a main commuter route.

Paramedics arrived quickly but despite frantic attempts to save Christina, her injuries were too severe.

Christina Edkins, who was stabbed to death on a bus in Birmingham
Christina Edkins was stabbed to death in a 'sporadic and very quick' attack as she travelled to school on a busy bus in Birmingham city centre

Savage: Christina had only been on the bus for a
matter of minutes when she was attacked as she made her way to Leasowes
High School in Halesowen

Concerned: Christina tweeted about a man 'worrying me' on the bus about a month before she was killed

Concerned: Christina tweeted about a man ‘worrying me’ on the bus about a month before she was killed

Shortly afterwards Darren Bent, from
Birmingham, said: ‘Some guy has just stabbed and killed a schoolgirl
right in front of my missus on the number 9 bus on her way to work and
she had to give CPR. The guy did it as the bus was about to stop and ran
off.’

FRIENDS TWEET TRIBUTES TO ‘HAPPY AND SMILING’ CHRISTINA

Christina Edkins

Christina’s friends took to Twitter today to pay tribute to the popular teenager.

Jae-OiMySize wrote: ‘R.I.P Christina your gone but ill never forget you’

marniedaisy,
who claimed to have been best friends with Christina since the age of
three, wrote: ‘i just don’t want to believe it, I’m literally
heartbroken x’

sp3nnn-
added: ‘It won’t be the same anymore Christina was always so happy and
smiling. She had such a beautiful smile you couldn’t help but smile back
rip’

OllyRiley wrote: ‘RIP @ChristinaEdkins we will never ever forget you, remember our promise up there okay! I won’t break it’

KaraJns said: ‘We had the best heart to heart on Saturday, won’t forget it. So glad i met you. Rip beautiful @ChristinaEdkins’

farheenok
tweeted: ‘@christinaedkins RIP, you were one of the nicest people ever,
the good people always go first, we’ll never forget you x’

A Twitter user added that a friend ‘was on the bus and a girl was stabbed in the neck’.

Police launched a manhunt involving
more than 100 officers, some armed, and described the murderer as an
‘extremely dangerous’ black male in his early-20s wearing a top with a
tiger motif.

A man who is believed to be from a
strict Christian family from Mbabane, Swaziland, was arrested a few
hours later on suspicion of murder after a chase behind a Morrisons
supermarket. Police say they are not looking for anyone else in
connection with the attack.

Officers are questioning the suspect, doing forensic tests and trawling through CCTV evidence from cameras on the bus.

They are also looking at Christina’s
online profiles as part of the investigation but said there was ‘nothing
to suggest she was being targeted’. 

Christina’s family was too distraught to speak yesterday at their terraced maisonette in inner-city Ladywood, Birmingham.

Lee Barton, whose daughter Marnie was best friends with Christina, described her as a ‘sweet, innocent young girl’.

Mr Barton, 46, from Hockley, Birmingham, said: ‘I’ve spoken briefly to Christina’s father on the phone.’

Asked how Mr Edkins was, Mr Barton replied: ‘You can imagine.’

Mr Barton’s daughter, who has known
Christina since they were three, wrote on Twitter: ‘I just don’t want to
believe it, I’m literally heartbroken. She’s still my best friend, no
matter what.’

Friends said Christina’s mother, who
works at Tesco, sent her daughter to a school outside the city centre to
improve her prospects.

Rebecca Bennett, 33, whose daughter Laura was close friends with Christina, said: ‘She was a smashing girl.

‘Kathleen sent Christina to school in Halesowen because she wanted her to have a good education.’

Yesterday, friends gathered at the school gates and laid flowers.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Midlands Police on 0800 0960095 as a matter of urgency.

 



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The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Just what is this country coming to?
RIP young lady.

locksmith
,

Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 13:06

Poor beautiful girl, my thoughts are with her family. RIP angel.

MrsRW
,

Watford,
08/3/2013 13:03

it isn’t fair how this can happen to such a young and innocent girl, someone so full of life. She had so much to give and so much to offer the world and was stopped by someone for no reason. Life really isn’t fair sometimes

JeromeBath
,

Bath, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:37

This story is just heart breaking. How can a beautiful young girl like this just get knifed to death on a bus on the way to school?

Richard Barclay
,

London Town,
08/3/2013 12:34

What a beautiful young girl gone off without getting the chance to build her own life. RIP and my thoughts with her family and friends.

klyfer
,

copenhagen,
08/3/2013 12:33

God bless all her family and grant them comfort and privacy in this awful moment… may her soul rest in peace. My heartfelt condolences to all her family and friends. Beautiful girl.

JJherself
,

Northampton, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:32

This poor girl and her family. There are some truly horrible people out there. It makes me want to lock my daughters up to stop something like this happening. My thoughts go out to her family.

lewis
,

thornton cleveleys, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:27

RIP Christina such a tragic waste of a young life! Knife crime is rife all over this vile Country it needs sorting out NOW!!!!

pinksky
,

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:25

Tragic. 🙁

Conor Smith
,

Warrington, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:22

So sad 🙁 Another angel taken from Earth too soon…R.I.P xxxx

xWelsh-Lassx
,

Wales, United Kingdom,
08/3/2013 12:21

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