The mother of Walsall killer Phillip Simelane has revealed how she ‘lived in fear’ of him – as investigations got under way into why he was released unsupervised from prison before the chilling attack.
Mental health trust bosses have admitted there are ‘lessons to be learned’ after the paranoid schizophrenic was detained indefinitely for killing Christina Edkins, aged 16.
Simelane, 23, stabbed the girl as she travelled to school in Halesowen on a bus – less than three months after he had been released from prison. The 23-year-old was sentenced yesterday after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act.
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Police said his mother was devastated by the schoolgirl’s death. After Simelane’s arrest on suspicion of Christina’s murder, his mother told police she had seen a decline in his mental health in his early teens.
She had emigrated from Swaziland to England with Simelane and his siblings, leaving his natural father behind. Later she started a new relationship with a British man ‘but Phillip did not get on with his stepfather’, according to Det Sgt Harry May of West Midlands Police.
The family moved to Walsall, and although he attended school he was not a regular in classes by the time he was 14, amid accusations he was being bullied. “His mother mentioned the bullying to the school, and did try to get him to go to the doctors, but Simelane would never recognise he had a mental health problem,” the officer said. His mother had lately lived in fear of her son.
She had called police 21 times to deal with issues dating from his 14th birthday until 2012.
In May 2012 he was given a six-month conditional discharge for smashing a window at his mother’s house, and later that year was sent to prison for threatening to stab her.
Bosses at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are now carrying out an investigation.