Woman accused of murdering seven-year-old girl ‘told a nurse I picked my victim’
A woman accused of murdering a seven-year-old girl told a nurse “I picked my victim”, a court has heard.
Eltiona Skana allegedly said “it was premeditated, I waited in the park, I picked my victim and I killed somebody and tried to run away”, the court heard.
The 30-year-old said her actions were “premeditated” when she was being assessed by a psychiatric nurse at the high-security Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire in August, a jury was told.
She has denied murdering Emily Jones, seven.
Skana pleaded guilty to manslaughter by means of diminished responsibility at an earlier hearing.
The young girl died after she was attacked by Skana, who grabbed her and slashed her neck with a craft knife while she was riding her scooter towards her mother in Queen’s Park, Bolton, on March 22, the trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court has been told.
On the fourth day of proceedings, the jury heard from Jonathan Pettet, a psychiatric nurse and team leader at Rampton Hospital, where Skana is being treated.
After being questioned by prosecution barrister Michael Brady QC, Mr Pettet told the court he assessed the defendant on August 16, following a visit to the hospital from her family.
During their discussion, he said that Skana told him: “I killed someone, that’s the reason why I’m here.”
Mr Pettet added: “I asked her about the day specifically on which this occurred and she went through her plan for the day – I said that’s okay.
”She said, ‘it was premeditated, I waited in the park, I picked my victim and I killed somebody and tried to run away’.”
The nurse, who appeared at court via video link from Rampton Hospital, was then questioned by Simon Csoka QC, defending.
He was asked a number of questions about details he had mentioned in court which did not appear in copies of his notes from the August meeting.
Mr Pettet said he had not recorded everything which had happened in the meeting, but felt he remembered it well because it was ‘distinct’ and had been “highlighted” by both himself and another member of staff.
The jury also heard from Victoria Fagan, the community mental health nurse who treated Skana before the incident.
Skana had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was switched from injected medication to tablets around four months before the Emily’s death on March 22, jurors have heard.
Miss Fagan said Skana had been previously treated by Bolton’s early intervention team – a body which works with patients at risk of having a psychotic episode – before she was passed to the community mental health team and Miss Fagan became her nurse in early 2019.
She said she had some “concerns” about switching the defendant’s medication.
“I had concerns when Eltiona was taken off [the injections] that she could relapse so I increased my visits,” she told the court.
“However, there was no change in her presentation.”
Skana was given a 100mg tablet to take in the morning and a 300mg tablet to take at night, the court heard.
Mr Csoka told the jury police had later discovered a stash of unused pills in her flat.
He said: “So far as the police search of Miss Skana’s flat was concerned, they found an excess of about a month’s worth of medication.”
Following her arrest on March 22, Skana was taken to north Manchester police station, where she was examined by crime scene investigators.
A further witness, DC Elizabeth Sexton, told the court officers had discovered the defendant had copper wire wrapped tightly around her toes.
“I was stood outside the door of the cell when the crime scene investigator told me she had noticed some wire wrapped around the toes of Miss Skana,” the officer explained to the jury.
“I asked what was that for and she said that it was to help with her emotions.”
Skana removed the wire when asked to do so.
Mr Brady told jurors on Thursday the main issue for them to decide on is whether Skana’s paranoid schizophrenia was the reason for the killing – or “a convenient excuse behind which to hide”.
The trial will continue on Wednesday.