Man remanded over Birmingham bus stabbing charge

 

A 22-year-old man has appeared in court charged with the murder of a teenage girl who was stabbed on a bus as she made her way to school.

Phillip Simelane, who is accused of killing 16-year-old Christina Edkins, spoke only to confirm his name during a 10-minute hearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

Simelane, from Walsall, was remanded into the custody of a secure mental health unit and will next appear at the same court for a plea hearing on May 31.

Christina, a pupil at Leasowes High School in Halesowen, died after suffering a stab wound to the chest on the top deck of a bus in Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Thursday March 7.

West Midlands Police were given authority to charge Simelane by the Crown Prosecution Service on Tuesday.

But he was not formally charged with murder until 9am today, an hour before he appeared before The Recorder of Birmingham, Judge William Davis QC.

Simelane, wearing a blue, white and grey hooded training top, remained impassive throughout today's hearing after being asked to confirm his name by the court clerk.

A dock officer and four police officers stood near the defendant as prosecutor Hayley Firman discussed the timetable in the case with the judge and defence barrister Regan Peggs.

No members of Christina's family were present in court during the short hearing, which was attended by several police officers working on the inquiry.

Speaking outside the court, Detective Superintendent Richard Baker, who is leading the inquiry, said: "We continue to support Christina's family, who are extremely relieved that someone has been charged."

PA

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