Father of girl killed by paranoid schizophrenic Albanian woman slams Home Office

The father of a seven-year-old girl who was killed by a paranoid schizophrenic Albanian woman believes if the Home Office had done its job she would not have been in the UK at all, his lawyer said following the inquest into the youngster’s death.

Eltiona Skana, 33, described as a “psychotic ticking time bomb”, got up from a bench and randomly attacked Emily Jones with a craft knife as she went past on a scooter, calling out, “Mummy! Mummy!” to her mother, solicitor Sarah Barnes, jogging round Queen’s Park, Bolton, on Mother’s Day, 2020.

Skana came to the UK in the back of a lorry in 2014 and was given asylum despite the Home Office being told she admitted lying about being a victim of sexual exploitation in her application to boost her chances of staying in the UK.

Sefton Kwasnik, representing Mark Jones – Emily’s father, spoke after the conclusion of the eight-day inquest into her death at Bolton Coroner’s Court.

He said: “Mark said, before the start of the inquest, before he heard the evidence, before he had seen a statement from the Home Office, Mark said, in his own statement, that if the Home Office had done their job properly Miss Skana wouldn’t have been here in the first place.

“She twice told doctors that she lied in her asylum application, she twice told doctors and police that she wanted to go home, in 2015 and 2017.

“And the Home Office offered no explanation as to why they ignored those important clues in her presentation.

“And now we hear that the Home Office are paying Albanian convicts to go home. It didn’t happen here.”

Mr Jones said he hoped “something good” could come from his daughter’s death, with more help for families killed by people with mental health problems.

He said: “We are just going to try our best to make a change. We’re just going to try and do our best so Emily’s death doesn’t go in vain.”

Timothy Brennand, senior coroner for Manchester West, said of Mr Jones he “may well feel and is entitled to feel” Skana should never have been allowed into the country.

The inquest hearing was told Skana, who had a long history of poor mental health, had deliberately stopped taking her anti-psychotic medication and hid this from mental health care workers.

And while some of her care locally was “sub-optimal”, Mr Brennand described the mental health care sector as “in crisis” and he intends to write a report to prevent future deaths to be sent to the Minister of State for Health.

The coroner said “in yesteryear” someone like Skana would have been kept “under lock and key”, but that approach has now been abandoned to less restrictive practices – but which brings with it risks.

The burden of assessing risks, he said, now lies with community mental health teams providing “snapshot” assessments, but Skana was seen only once by her mental health worker in the 100 days before the attack.

Mr Brennand said he had “profound concerns” about the “morale, workloads, training, staff shortages, recruitment, inability to deliver continuing care, record keeping, quantity and quality of face-to-face consultations” in a sector of health care, “riven with operational stress and tension”.

Skana was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2020 for the killing and her minimum term was set at 10 years and eight months.

She admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was put on trial for murder. The trial collapsed and the prosecution offered no further evidence after hearing from the psychiatrist treating Skana at Rampton Hospital where she is being held under the Mental Health Act.

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, responsible for Skana’s care, has said a review found Emily’s killing could not have been foreseen.

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