Anorak | Christina Edkins: the remarkable compassion shown to her mentally ill killer

Christina Edkins: the remarkable compassion shown to her mentally ill killer

by | 3rd, October 2013


THE  Sun says Christina Edkins, 16, was “killed by the system” .

Phillip Simelane, 23, had been freed from prison. Despite his severe mental health issues, no-one thought it best to watch him.

Yesterday he was back in prison, starting a life sentence for killing Miss Edkins on a Birmingham bus. They had never met before.

Simelane admitted to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Birmingham Crown Court.

The Sun  produces gory details of his crime:

As Christina sat down after boarding the bus, paranoid schizophrenic Simelane — a man described as a “ticking timebomb” — slouched seemingly asleep in the back seat. But Simelane swiftly stood up and moved to a seat directly behind her. Seconds later he stood again, clutching a kitchen knife he had pulled from a plastic bag. Chilling CCTV footage from the bus shows Simelane plunging the knife into Christina’s chest without uttering a single word. Then he calmly goes downstairs and gets off at the next stop.

It’s an horrific crime written up in the Penny Dreadful style. But, then, if it bleeds it leads.  As a readerswrites on  HoldTheFrontPage   about the Bristol Post  highlighting positive news:

“Ignore the focus groups, people love bad news. Nobody is going to sit down in a focus group and say ‘actually, I would like to read about more rapes and murders’. But the truth is people revel in the depravity of mankind. Look in your local bookshop – shelves and shelves of books devoted to the doings of killers and criminals. Not many books about people helping the elderly across the road. That is human nature. Ignore it at your peril.” 



But are Simelane’s crimes as crime of the system, as the Sun says? The Sun finds a “source” to tell readers:

“People just didn’t join up the dots and realise what a threat to the public he was. He walked out of prison with no one keeping an eye on him and was like a timebomb waiting to go off. When it did an innocent teenage girl died.”

Having catalogued his previous violent and petty crimes we learn that he was sleeping on public transport in the city:

At 6am the driver approached him at the end of the route. Simelane said he wanted to stay on the bus because he was “homeless, cold and tired”. At around 7.15am Christina began her usual short walk from her home in Ladywood to catch the No9 at the top of Broad Street.

The driver who let him stay is not a part of the failed system. His was an act of kindness.

Apart from her and Simelane, the only other passenger upstairs was a boy of 14 listening to music on headphones. Christina briefly called out and the teenage lad went to her aid. As Simelane waited for the bus to reach the next stop the driver asked him: “What is all the fuss about upstairs? Simelane replied: “I think it’s a row about a Daysaver ticket.”


The cool killer.


In court, Mrs Justice Thirlwall told him:

“Anyone reading the facts of the case would be disturbed that you were living in the community with a severe illness with no mental help at all.”

The Sun does

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Posted: 3rd, October 2013 | In: News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink