The mother of the man who killed Christina Edkins in a random attack on a bus has spoken of her grief over the tragedy.
Paranoid schizophrenic Phillip Simelane was last week detained indefinitely for killing the schoolgirl.
He stabbed the 16-year-old to death as she travelled to school in Halesowen on the number nine bus on March 7 – less than three months after he had been released from prison without any supervision.
Simelane’s mother Priscilla Von-Groening, of Smethwick, told the Express & Star: “We are grieving for my son who is lost to us, but still here.
“My heart also goes out to the family of the young lady who are also grieving for their daughter.
“We cannot comment further on the investigation as it is still ongoing. It has been a very stressful time,” she said.
She said her son had been ‘crying out for help’ and had been ‘badly let down by the system and the authorities, as have both families’.
The 23-year-old, who was born in Swaziland, was sentenced after pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Simelane, of Walsall, was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.
Bosses at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are carrying out an investigation and admitted ‘there are lessons to be learned for us’ following the case. Christina’s family, of Ladywood, in Birmingham, have said they are keen to hear the outcome of the review, which is expected in December.
They are also supporting the Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris as he prepares to launch a campaign for tougher sentences for people caught carrying knives in the wake of Christina’s death.
Mr Morris said he wanted anyone caught illegally carrying a knife to be jailed.
When Simelane attacked the teenager he was in prison for breach of licence with regard to vehicle interference and cocaine possession.
He had a total of seven previous convictions and had previously served a prison sentence for threatening his own mother with a knife.
He also punched a police officer during his arrest.
The comments from Simelane’s mother come as it is revealed that more than 1,200 people were killed by patients with mental illness between 2001 and 2010 – an average of 122 deaths a year.
Provisional figures for 2011 show 46 people were killed by mental health patients in England. The figures, in a Manchester University study, also show suicides among mental health patients are on the rise – from 1,175 in 2010 to 1,333 in 2011.