Chris Melia, great-uncle to Christina, made the following statement on behalf of her family.
Christina’s parents, Jason and Kathleen, her brother, Ryan and sister, Joanne, together with her wider family, continue to try to come to terms with the tragic loss of Christina and the senseless circumstances surrounding her death on March 7, just two weeks after her 16th birthday.
To find ourselves in this position is both alien and deeply traumatic – especially so for her parents. An ordinary, quiet and hardworking family has experienced the horror, distress and pain associated with such a devastating crime, along with the resultant loss of privacy.
At the same time, many acts of kindness, often from people who never knew Christina, have been very comforting.
Christina was a beautiful, bright, caring girl, loved by everyone. Jason and Kathleen have been touched by many special messages they have received from people who knew Christina and tributes from her teachers and friends in the school yearbook have been deeply moving. Her headmaster said: “If a school could choose its pupils it would be full of Christinas.”
During the last seven months her family have faced many difficult situations as they struggle to live life without Christina:
- Walking to work by a different route to that shared with Christina on her way to the morning bus
- Their pride in her examination results, 11 subjects with grades from A* to C, together with the pain that her ambition to study to be a nurse or midwife will be unfulfilled
- The school prom passing by, an event Christina had been very much looking forward to. She had bought a beautiful lilac dress for the occasion and it was a family wish that she wore it on the day of her funeral.
- The tributes to Christina at the prom, which was dedicated to her, and the release of dozens of purple balloons, her favourite colour. Jason and Kathleen were touched by the invitation to attend the prom but felt unable to face such an emotion-filled event.
Nothing will restore Christina to us. The loss of a child is the worst thing that can happen, made even more grievous by such a senseless crime as this. The family are all innocent victims and must pay the penalty as we stand by helplessly and watch the lives of the people we love shattered like precious glass, knowing we can never put the fragile pieces back together.
Now the family asks the question: ‘when this man was discharged from prison on December 13, 2012, why was the recommendation (made a few weeks earlier by mental health experts) that he be supervised after release while adjusting to life back in the community, not followed up?’
The Crown Court hearing today brings an element of resolution in that the custodial sentence passed means that the public is protected from this man.
However, he was allowed the freedom not only to take the life on an innocent child, but in doing so, to ensure that the lives of the people whom she loved are forever affected as a result of this crime.