A 22-year-old man arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing 16-year-old schoolgirl Christina Edkins on a bus in Birmingham was tonight sectioned under the Mental Health Act, West Midlands Police said.
Police earlier said that passengers on the lower deck of the bus heard screaming but thought it was teenagers messing about.
Detectives investigating the murder released a CCTV snapshot of the suspect as they appealed for everyone who was travelling on the vehicle on Thursday morning to come forward.
The man, a black male in his early 20s, was wearing a distinctive jacket with a tiger design and was believed to have been travelling on buses in the Birmingham area before and after the fatal stabbing of Christina Edkins.
A post mortem revealed that the “bright and popular” teenager died from a single stab wound to the chest as she sat on the upper deck of the number 9 bus.
Police had had until the early hours of this morning to question the 22-year-old man arrested at a Morrisons supermarket near the murder scene on Thursday. Detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with the stabbing.
Writing on Facebook, Stephanie Bent said she witnessed the aftermath of the attack. “I was on that bus. I knew what he had done and he was stood next to me when he was getting off, all I could think of was ‘I hope he gets off this stop so I can go upstairs and help the girl’.
“Thankfully he got off and I was able to go upstairs and help the girl as best I could. I gave CPR until medics arrived and am deeply traumatised I could not save her.”
West Midlands Police put out an appeal to speak to the “seven or eight” people on the bus who had not yet come forward.
Locals left flowers, teddy bears and balloons outside Leasowes High School, where Miss Edkins was a pupil. Her relatives, said to be “absolutely devastated”, are believed to have asked people to refrain from placing flowers and notes outside the family home.
This morning, extra officers were assigned to patrol public transport in Birmingham, a city that has been shocked by a killing that police describe as “totally senseless and random”.