A paranoid schizophrenic who has admitted slitting the throat of a seven-year-old girl as she played in a park with her mother and father, has been cleared of murder.
The prosecution offered no further evidence in the case and withdrew the charge.
Eltiona Skana, 30, had admitted the manslaughter of Emily Jones on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was on trial after pleading not guilty to murder.
Skana admitted to medical staff that her actions were ‘premeditated’ when a psychiatric nurse was assessing her at the high-security Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire in August, a jury was told.
During the trial, Jonathan Pettet, a psychiatric nurse and team leader at Rampton Hospital, where Skana is being treated said that Skana told him:
“I killed someone, that’s the reason why I’m here.”
Mr Pettet added: “I asked her about the day specifically on which this occurred and she went through her plan for the day – I said that’s okay.
”She said, ‘it was premeditated, I waited in the park, I picked my victim and I killed somebody and tried to run away’.”
The jury also heard from Victoria Fagan, the community mental health nurse who treated Skana before the shocking and tragic incident.
Skana had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was switched from injected medication to tablets around four months before Emily’s tragic death on March 22.
Miss Fagan said Bolton’s early intervention team had previously treated Skana before she was passed to the community mental health team and Miss Fagan became her nurse in early 2019.
She said she had some ‘concerns’ about switching Skana’s medication.
“I had concerns when Eltiona was taken off [the injections] that she could relapse so I increased my visits,” she told the court.
“However, there was no change in her presentation.”
After hearing evidence on Thursday from a consultant forensic psychiatrist treating Skana at high-security Rampton Hospital, the murder charge was withdrawn on Friday, and the presiding judge directed the jury to formally return a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court that there was no realistic prospect of a conviction on the murder charge.
Trial judge Mr Justice Wall will sentence Skana for manslaughter on Tuesday.
During the trial, the court heard how on the afternoon of Sunday 22nd March, Emily had been taken by her father, Mark Jones, to Queen’s Park in Bolton.
Emily was riding her scooter when she spotted her mother, Sarah Barnes, who was also jogging in the park at the time.
The schoolgirl was calling out to her mother as she hurried past a park bench where Skana was sitting.
Skana was on the bench, alone, and was armed with a razor-sharp craft knife.
Without any warning, Albanian born Skana got up and slit Emily’s throat before running away from the horrific scene.
Skana was later arrested by officers from Greater Manchester Police and was detained under the Mental Health Act.
The prosecution alleged that, although it was accepted the defendant does have, and has had, mental health difficulties for several years, it was for the jury to decide whether this was a case of murder rather than manslaughter and questioned whether Skana’s poor mental health was a “convenient excuse” for her actions.
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