A 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death on a bus this morning as she made her way to school.
Christina Edkins, a pupil at Leasowes High School in Halesowen, was killed in what police described as a “sporadic and very quick” attack in Birmingham’s Edgbaston area at around 7.30am.
It is understood her attacker was already on the crowded commuter bus when she boarded. West Midlands Police arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with her murder shortly afterwards, and detectives said they were not looking for anyone else.
Only weeks ago, Miss Edkins tweeted her fears over a suspicious individual on her bus. “This man is worrying me on the bus keeps getting up and walking up and down stairs, and sitting in different place,” she said.
Police said they were looking at Christina’s “social media footprint” as part of the investigation, but said that there was no evidence to suggest that she had been targeted by someone who knew her. Officers are investigating the possibility that she fell victim to a random attack, but a number of possible motives are still being considered.
Locals described the horror of what appeared to be an out-of-the-blue stabbing. Darren Bent wrote on Facebook: “Can’t believe some guy has stabbed and killed a schoolgirl right in front of my missus on the number nine bus on her way to work and she had to give CPR. The guy did it as bus was about to stop and ran off.”
Specialist forensic investigators yesterday searched the scene while officers examined CCTV footage.
The teenager’s headteacher Neil Shaw led the tributes: “Christina was a bright and popular student much loved by staff and students alike. We are deeply saddened to hear this tragic news and our thoughts and hearts go out to her family and everyone who knew her.” On social media sites, friends spoke of their grief.
One user, under the name Marnie Daisy, tweeted: “I just don’t want to believe it, I’m literally heartbroken. She’s still my best friend, no matter what.”
More than 100 officers carried out a major manhunt after the stabbing, and the suspect was held at a Morrisons supermarket just 100 yards away from the scene following a short chase. He was said to have been “acting suspiciously”.
A second man detained by police in connection with the death was released without arrest.
Detective Superintendent Richard Baker of West Midlands police said: “This is a tragic case and the victim’s family are devastated.”
He added: “The girl had been on the bus for a short period of time when the incident occurred.
“It appears to have been quite a sporadic and very quick attack on the girl.”