Emily Jones’ brave dad pledges to do ‘all he can’ to keep her killer behind bars

The father of a seven-year-old girl knifed to death in a park says he will do all her can to keep her killer locked up.

Emily Jones was riding her scooter through Queen’s Park in Bolton in March when Eltiona Skana grabbed her and slashed her neck with a a craft knife.

Skana, 30, was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

She was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of at least eight years after pleading guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

But, her sentence was increased this week when the judge in the case, Mr Justice Wall, acknowledged that he had made a mistake in calculating the total length and extended her time behind bars to ten years and eight months.

Following a trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, the judge told Skana she retained ‘a significant amount of responsibility’ for the killing despite her mental illness.

Emily’s father, Mark Jones, welcomed the extended sentence but said that he would do everything he could to see that his daughter’s killer was never released.

“I will keep fighting tooth and nail for her to stay there for the rest of her life – whether it’s ten years or 20 it won’t be enough for me,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned she’s a danger to the public for the rest of her life, she’d do it again to any child I would bet my bottom dollar on that.

“I will do all I can to keep her in prison for the rest of her life.”

Over the course of a seven-day murder trial, jurors heard that Skana had been experiencing symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia for years.

She had complained about her neighbours, who she was worried were ‘plotting to harm her with electricity’ and she was twice sectioned when her delusions led to violence.

The trial ended with Skana being found not guilty of murder after the prosecution dropped the charge upon hearing evidence from a senior psychologist at Rampton Hospital – the secure facility where she was being treated.

She was instead sentenced for committing manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, a charge she had previously pleaded guilty to.

Her sentence was passed as a ‘hybrid’ prison term and hospital order, meaning that she will remain in high-security hospital indefintely until doctors judge that it is safe for her to serve time behind bars.

Asked whether he could ever forgive Skana for her actions, in view of what the court heard about her mental state, Mr Jones said he could
not.

“I know people say that it’s good for your mental health to forgive but in this instance I’m afraid I can’t,” he said.

“The judge in his summing-up wasn’t having any of it and it was great to hear because we’d lost a bit of faith in the human race at that
point.

“He said to her ‘you knew what you were doing’, maybe not in a full capacity but she went out there to hurt someone and I’m not having that that was a complete psychotic event, no chance.

“I don’t know what was going on in her head, she’s obviously a troubled person. She was let down, I agree, but also she’s a nasty person and a manipulative person as well.

“How dare she touch my daughter, how dare she put her hands on her? So no, I can’t forgive her.”