A paranoid schizophrenic has been cleared of murdering a seven-year-old girl in a park after admitting slashing her throat.
Eltiona Skana admitted the manslaughter of Emily Jones on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murdering her.
A court heard Jones was in Queen’s Park, Bolton with her father, Mark Jones, when she rode her scooter past Skana to her mother Sarah Barnes on 22 March – Mother’s Day.
Skana grabbed Jones, cut her throat with a craft knife and ran off before a member of the public stopped her.
The schoolgirl was rushed to hospital but later pronounced dead.
The defendant, originally from Albania, was detained under the Mental Health Act.
On Friday, prosecutors offered no further evidence in her trial and withdrew the charge after hearing from a consultant forensic psychiatrist who treated Skana at Rampton Hospital, a high security unit.
Read more: Fraudster exposed by arm wrestle
Michael Brady QC, prosecuting, told Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester that there was no realistic prospect of a murder conviction and the judge told the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
They had questioned if Skana’s mental health was a “convenient excuse” for the killing.
The court previously heard she told a nurse: “It was premeditated, I waited in a park and picked my victim, I did what I did then tried to run away.”
However, the conversation took place when she was not taking her anti-psychotic medication, the court heard.
Asked about her mental health, Dr Syed Afghan, a consultant at Rampton, said: “Violence while under psychosis, while she’s been psychotic she’s been violent, yes.”
Her parents previously said: “Emily was seven-years-old, our only child and the light of our lives.
“She was always full of joy, love and laughter.
“Emily had such a cheeky smile and was beautiful inside and out. She had a heart as big as her smile.”
Justice Wall will sentence Skana for manslaughter on Tuesday.
Watch: COVID Christmas dos and don’ts