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04 December 2020 22:36

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Woman found not guilty of murdering Emily Jones after prosecution drop charge

A paranoid schizophrenic who admitted slitting the throat of a seven-year-old girl in a park has been cleared of murder after the prosecution offered no further evidence 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. 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from a consultant forensic psychiatrist treating Skana at high-security Rampton Hospital, the murder charge was withdrawn on Friday and the jury directed to formally return a not guilty verdict. Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester there was no realistic prospect of a conviction on the murder charge. Emily had been taken to Queen's Park in Bolton by her father, Mark Jones, on the afternoon of Mother's Day, Sunday March 22, and was riding her scooter when she spotted her mother, Sarah Barnes, who was jogging.

The youngster was calling out to her mother as she scooted past a park bench where Skana was sitting, alone and armed with a craft knife. The prosecution alleged that, although it was accepted the defendant does have, and has had, mental health difficulties for a number of 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. Eltiona Skana, 30, slashed Emily Jones' neck with a craft knife as the seven-year-old called to her mother as she rode towards her in Queen's Park, Bolton. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was charged with murder. But on the seventh day of her trial, the jury was told the prosecution were discontinuing the case, with prosecutor Michael Brady QC claiming there was now no realistic prospect of a conviction.

Dr Victoria Sullivan, who treated Skana at a medium secure mental health unit in Manchester after her arrest, said the defendant's sister, Klestora, told them she had not been taking her anti-psychotic medication before the attack. From mid-December of last year until March 11, the defendant had no face-to-face contact with her mental health workers, the jury heard. In 2017, Skana had stabbed her mother and in another incident attacked her sister and had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times – yet was extraordinarily deemed well enough by doctors to be released back into the community. Emily Jones was killed by Skana as she was riding her scooter through Queen's Park, Bolton, on Mother's Day The court also heard how she was sectioned then detained under the Mental Health Act in 2015 and was admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times but was deemed well enough by doctors to be released into the community. Skana had been having injections of anti-psychotic drugs each month since 2017, but had told medics the treatment had caused her mental health to decline.

She was referred for treatment in March 2015 and was later admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Bolton Hospital after her sister reported that she had grabbed a knife, thinking she would be attacked and wanting to protect herself. The court has heard in harrowing detail how Emily's father thought she had fallen over before realising she had been stabbed, and how he and her mother were forced to watch as paramedics battled to save their daughter's life. The prosecution had alleged that Skana planned the killing, buying a knife and selecting a victim in the park and was hiding behind her mental condition. Emily had visited Queen's Park in Bolton with her father Mark Jones and mother Sarah Barnes on March 22, this year. The court heard how Skana was sitting on a bench and armed with a craft knife that was one of a pack of three she'd bought earlier that day from a shop in Bolton town centre.

Emily had visited Queen's Park in Bolton (pictured, police at the park after the killing) with her father Mark Jones and mother Sarah Barnes on March 22, this year Mr Brady said: 'Emily's path towards her mum took her past the defendant who, as Emily scooted by, grabbed her and in one movement slit her throat with the craft knife and then threw her to the ground. Following the killing, Skana was detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to Rampton Hospital. Skana believed her mental illness was due to the treatment she'd received since arriving in the UK and told the clinician: 'I was perfectly normal with no mental health problem before coming to the UK' She later told him: 'I was injected and made into a psychopath' and, 'I was completely fine before I came to this country, I was educated at University and you and the Home Office have done this to me for six years.' When asked about the killing, she told another member of staff: 'It was premeditated, I waited in a park and picked my victims, I did what I did then tried to run away.' Skana blamed 'psychosis' for Emily's killing, saying she was 'hearing voices on the day.' But she'd previously denied hearing voices at the time of the killing when she was initially assessed by a psychiatrist after being arrested. The court heard that in the months leading up to Emily's killing Skana had been taking a tablet form of anti-psychosis medication, instead of the injections she'd received previously, as it made her 'less paranoid'. Psychiatric experts had told the jury that she had a history of mental illness, had paranoid schizophrenia and had killed Emily in a psychotic episode.

Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, had told jurors the main issue was whether Skana's paranoid schizophrenia was the reason behind the killing of Emily or if her illness was simply 'a convenient excuse behind which to hide?' The court heard that Dr Crosby, a prosecution instructed psychiatrist, and Dr Whitworth, a psychiatrist for the defence, agreed that at the time Skana was suffering from an 'acute psychotic episode' caused by her 'paranoid schizophrenia'. But Mr Brady told the jury that Skana had murdered Emily given her 'clear intent'. The seven-year-old had been riding to meet her mother when the defendant sprang from a bench, grabbed her and cut her throat with a craft knife she had bought that morning. Today, the prosecution barrister told the jury that the Crown Prosecution Service would no longer pursue a murder charge and asked them to find Skana not guilty of that offence. 'Eltiona Skana pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, and will be sentenced for that offence at a later date. A woman with a history of violence and mental health problems who confessed to killing seven-year-old Emily Jones, has been cleared of murder. Eltiona Skana, 30, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was on trial in the crown court in Manchester after pleading not guilty to murder. The judge, Mr Justice Wall, directed the jury to formally return a not guilty verdict after the prosecution withdrew the murder charge and offered no further evidence. Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, told the court there was no realistic prospect of a conviction on the murder charge. Emily had gone to Queen's Park in Bolton with her father, Mark Jones, on the afternoon of Mother's Day and was riding her scooter when she spotted her mother, Sarah Barne, jogging. She was calling out to her mother as she scooted past the park bench where Skana was sitting, alone and armed with a craft knife. The prosecution had alleged that, although it was accepted Skana suffered mental health difficulties, it was for the jury to decide whether this was a case of murder, rather than manslaughter. Prosecutors told the jury of a conversation between Skana and a nurse in Rampton that pointed to the attack being planned, and therefore a calculated killing rather than manslaughter. But the court was told the conversation took place at a time when Skana was not taking her anti-psychotic medication at the hospital. Earlier, in 2017, Skana had stabbed her mother, and in another incident attacked her sister and had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals three times. A woman who admitted killing seven-year-old Emily Jones will no longer be tried for murder after prosecution solicitors announced they will drop the charge. Over the course of a seven-day trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, a jury heard that Emily was killed by Skana as she was riding her scooter through Queen's Park, Bolton, on Mother's Day, March 22, of this year. The child had been riding to meet her mother when the defendant sprang from a waiting bench, grabbed her and then sliced her across the neck with a craft knife she had bought that morning, the court has already been told. Today, prosecution barrister Michael Brady QC told the jury that the Crown Prosecution Service would no longer pursue a murder charge and asked them to find Skana not guilty of that offence. Emily Jones had her throat slit in a park in Bolton on Mother's Day (Picture: MEN Media / PA) A woman has been found not guilty of murdering a seven-year-old girl who had her throat slit in a park on Mother's Day. Emily Jones was killed in Queen's Park, Bolton on March 22 this year. Eltiona Skana, 30, denied murder but had previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard, over the course of a seven-day trial, how Emily was killed by Skana as she was riding her scooter through the park on March 22 this year. The jury was told today the Crown Prosecution Service would no longer pursue a murder charge, and asked them to find Skana not guilty of that offence. Skana, who killed seven-year-old Emily Jones, will now face sentencing for manslaughter (Picture: MEN Media)