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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Seamus McDonnell

'She was the beat in our heart, the spring in our step' - Father pays moving tribute to his daughter Emily Jones

The father of Emily Jones, who was killed in a Bolton park on Mother's Day, has paid a touching tribute to her.

Mark Jones was with his daughter in Queen's Park on March 22 when she rode her scooter down a path towards her mother, Sarah Barnes.

During a seven-day trial, jurors heard that Eltiona Skana, 30, had grabbed the seven-year-old as she scooted by and cut her throat.

Mr Jones, who sat through every day of the heartbreaking trial, stood with a police representative outside Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court to hear his own statement read to the public.

In the statement, Mr Jones said: "How can you put into words how you feel about the senseless death of your only child? It is just too difficult to comprehend.

"Emily was the beat in our hearts, the spring in our step and the reason we got up every morning. Emily was our beautiful, spirited little girl, a bundle of energy with an infectious personality.

"She was bright and funny, a kind child with not a mean bone in her body. Emily loved life and had not a care in the world. One smile from Emily and she had her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

"Emily was a loveable child, full of innocence and wonder. She was just starting out on her path of life and her future has cruelly been cut so short. Our future has also been taken away, how can you enjoy life when the biggest part of it isn't there anymore?

Mr Jones came to court for every day of the seven-day long trial. (Manchester Evening News)

"We will never see Emily grow and become the wonderful young lady we knew she would become, we will never see her hold her own child in her arms, as we held her. Emily brought out something special in everyone who was lucky enough to be in her life.

"The loss of Emily has had a profound and significant impact, not just on her family, but the whole community. Emily was someone’s school friend, a play mate and of course a grand daughter and a niece, and she meant something very special and unique to each and every one of them.

"The last 9 months have been spent in limbo.

"We cannot move on, because at this time, we cannot see a future. We can only focus on today, it is literally one day at a time."

Emily Jones, 7, was killed in Queen's Park on March 22. (Mark Jones)

Mr Jones' loving tribute to his daughter followed the sentencing of her killer today.

Skana was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of eight years and including a hospital order which means she will only begin to serve this time when doctors deem it appropriate for her to be released from the high-security psychiatric facility where she is being treated.

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