The family of a seven-year-old girl who was murdered by a stranger in a random knife attack in a park on Mother’s Day, have described her the light of their lives, who was always full of joy, love and laughter.
Emily Jones, an only child, died after being stabbed as she walked with her parents in Queen’s Park, Bolton on Sunday afternoon.
A 30-year-old woman, who was not known to Emily or her family, was bravely detained by a passer by arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder.
She has since been detained under the Mental Health Act while the investigation continues.
In a statement, her family said they were beyond devastated they would never see their little girl grow up.
Her parents said: “Emily was 7-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.
“Emily was never happier than when she was spending time with her family and friends, she was our own little social butterfly.
“Emily had a passion for the outdoors and loved to play any sport, even when she was wearing her pink sparkly dresses.
“We are beyond devastated that this random act of violence means that we will never get to see our beautiful little girl grow up into the wonderful young lady she was showing such promise of becoming.
“It is truly heartbreaking to wake up to a world without Emily in it and we cannot comprehend why this has happened. We would like to thank the members of the public that assisted us in the park and express our gratitude to the emergency services for doing their utmost to save Emily’s life.
“Thank you to everyone for their kind messages of support and for continuing to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Emily’s parents witnessed the attack as did a number of members of the public who have been offered counselling to cope with the trauma.
Speaking after the incident, Russ Jackson, the Assistant Commissioner of Greater Manchester Police, said: “It is hard to describe how terrible this incident was, the attack happened in front of the parents of this little girl who had taken her out yesterday afternoon to enjoy the spring sun and play in the park.
“Having seen this horrendous attack, a member of the public bravely chased after the woman and detained her until police arrived and arrested her. I would like to thank him for his actions which enabled us to quickly arrest her and prevent anything else from happening.
“Several officers who attended the park were very young in service in the police, some with only weeks on independent police patrol. They and all the officers who went to the scene are incredibly upset over what has happened and all of us have this little girl and her family in our thoughts.
“I want to stress that this is not an end to the criminal investigation, we will consider the evidence and consult with the Crown Prosecution Service and if appropriate we will be seeking criminal charges.”