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Bus attacker admits killing teen
A psychiatric patient who stabbed a schoolgirl to death in a random attack on a bus has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Convicted criminal Phillip Simelane, 23, who had been released unsupervised despite warning signs over the state of his mental health while in prison, pleaded guilty to killing 16-year-old Christina Edkins after being judged unfit to stand trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Christina, a pupil at Leasowes High School in Halesowen, was pronounced dead at the scene after being stabbed in the chest on the upper deck of a bus in Birmingham at about 7.30am on March 7.
The killing has led to questions about how Simelane's case was dealt with after his release from prison.
Several members of Christina's family were in court as Simelane, wearing a grey suit, white shirt and blue tie, entered his plea.
Giving the facts of the case, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said: "On March 7, Christina Edkins boarded a bus to go to school and she went to the upper deck and sat in a seat.
"Also on the upper deck was the defendant."
Simelane boarded the bus at 5am, and had been reported by another passenger for sleeping on the back seat.
When challenged by the driver, he produced a valid travel pass although it was later revealed this did not belong to him.
Mr Grieves-Smith said: "He was carrying a white plastic bag and the CCTV shows his top bearing a distinctive animal print logo.
"In his bag is what the prosecution say was a knife, 10 to 12 inches in length.
"Christina Edkins boarded just after 7.30am and went upstairs and sat on her own.
"Within seconds the defendant got up and moved forwards three seats and pulled out the knife, which he then hid."
Simelane then got up and walked forward towards where Christina was sitting, "leant closer to her", stabbed her and started to walk off, the court heard.
"Such was the the nature of the attack, nobody else on the upper deck realised what had happened until Christina reacted," Mr Grieves-Smith said.
Other passengers on the bus tried to treat and comfort Christina after a witness heard her struggle for breath and say she had been stabbed.
Paramedics who arrived at the scene at 7.37am found the schoolgirl was not breathing and had no pulse and she was pronounced dead shortly before 8am.
Doctors were also diverted to try to help Christina, Mr Grieves-Smith said, telling the court: "Everybody who could attend did, and everybody who did attend did all they could to assist but sadly without any success."
Simelane was arrested around four and a half hours after the stabbing in a nearby street.
A police search of the area led to the recovery of a white bag containing the weapon used to stab Christina, a mobile phone, a smoked spliff, and a piece of paper bearing Simelane's fingerprints.
Simelane was detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Outlining Simelane's psychiatric history, Mr Grieves-Smith said the defendant had been heard making threats against two schoolgirls on a bus around a year before the stabbing.
Born in Swaziland, Simelane received a reprimand for possessing a knife in 2007 when he was 17, having suffered mental health problems since his mid-teens.
Simelane was cautioned for an offence of battery two years later and given a conditional discharge for criminal damage in May last year.
Other offences, including an assault on a police officer and an incident in which he threatened his mother with a knife, saw Simelane made the subject of a restraining order and jailed for 26 weeks in July last year.
A week after his release from prison last October, Simelane was jailed again, receiving a four-week term for vehicle interference.