A man arrested in connection with the death of tragic Black Country schoolgirl Christina Edkins will be charged with her murder, police said this afternoon.
Detectives said they will charge 22-year-old Phillip Simelane, of Walsall, in the “near future” following authorisation from the Crown Prosecution Service.
It comes as the family of the 16-year-old, who went to school in Halesowen, today told of their heartbreak at the loss of their “beautiful princess”.
Det Supt Rich Baker, said this afternoon: “This was a horrific, random attack and one that’s understandably shocked many people – I’m pleased to announce we now have authority to charge the suspect with murder. I’d like to thank Christina’s family for their continued support and patience during our inquiry. Everyone wants to see justice for Christina and her family and from day one we’ve been determined to help deliver that justice for them.”
Simelane has been detained in a secure unit for mental health assessment since his arrest on Friday. Leasowes High School pupil Christina died after she was attacked on the number nine bus on Hagley Road on the edge of Birmingham city centre.
The 16-year-old, who lived in Ladywood, died from a single stab wound to the chest on Thursday morning. Her parents Kathleen and Jason, brother Ryan and half-sister Joanne said they were “heartbroken and devastated” at Christina’s death.
“Our family and friends knew her as an amazing individual with her whole life ahead of her which was tragically taken away on that Thursday morning. Our lives will never be the same again,” they said in a statement today. “Our daughter was the most beautiful, intelligent and bright young lady.”
The statement continued: “We had bought Christina’s prom dress the week before and recall the day she tried it on and she looked like a princess. She was studying extremely hard for her exams and was considering which college to go to.”
The family added that they were overwhelmed by the kindness shown by friends and neighbours as well as people who had never met her.
“Christina would be very proud of each and every one of you; it is heartbreaking she is not here to see it,” they said.