The world was shocked by the untimely death of 7-year-old Emily Grace Jones, who was brutally attacked in front of her parents at Queen’s Park in Bolton, England. No one could make sense of why 30-year-old Eltiona Skana slit the little girl’s throat unprovoked. Soon, it was reported that the Albanian woman was a paranoid schizophrenic, and her mental illness would become the excuse for the bloodbath.
Skana had entered the UK in 2014 and applied for asylum under the false claim that she was a victim of human trafficking. According to the Daily Mail, mental health professionals knew that she was a danger to children, but her legal supervisors apparently had no idea of the risk she posed. Disturbingly, it was only a matter of time before the court decided that there would be no murder conviction.
After just 7 days into the trial, prosecutors dropped the murder charge and tried Skana for manslaughter with diminished responsibility due to her mental illness. She was convicted, but the family soon discovered that their daughter’s killer likely won’t spend one day behind bars.
Instead of prison, Skana was ordered to serve a minimum of 8 years at Rampton Hospital, which has provided her with her own suite, according to The Sun. The hospital, which houses around 300 patients, provides occupants with a gym, swimming pool, commissary, community garden, sporting facilities, and other leisure activities. Patients can also spend weekends watching TV and playing in the day room or going on shopping trips in the community.
The patients are provided with personal televisions, walk-in closets, an extensive meal menu, and healthcare, all of which come courtesy of the taxpayers. By the time Skana is eligible for release, she will have cost the public more than $1.3 million. On the other hand, Emily’s parents have been forced to further suffer as their daughter’s killer goes on to live a life of ease and relative luxury.
Emily’s father, Mark, still remembers the day he watched his little girl slip away. She had been riding a scooter after her mother on a jogging path when Skana lept up from a bench, grabbed the child, and cut her throat. Mark, who was about 200 yards away, ran to his daughter’s side as Skana fled the scene.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to lose her, I’m going to lose her.’ I was shouting, ‘Just stay with me Emily, stay with me. Don’t leave me,’” he said. “She was just trying to breathe. It was just horrific. I wouldn’t wish anybody to see that happen to their own daughter. On occasions I will go back there. I try not to. But I can just remember her trying to breathe. Just to see your child in that way. I thought, ‘This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening to Emily.’”
Emily died half an hour after she was flown by helicopter to Salford Royal Hospital. Mark resents her sentence and blames the incompetence of the mental health care system, which allowed a dangerous mentally-deranged woman to roam free.
“You can’t possibly write all these failings and then sum it up at the bottom with ‘we think the incident was not preventable’. It is absolute nonsense. They are just trying to relinquish all responsibility – and she was their responsibility.”
The Daily Mail later uncovered Skana’s “strictly confidential” medical report, which revealed that the woman had threatened a 13-year-old girl with a knife, repeatedly escaped psychiatric hospitals, attacked her own mother with a knife, attacked her neighbors with a knife, and repeatedly refused to take her antipsychotic medications.
The only way that Skana may ever be reprimanded to an actual prison is if she shows significant mental health improvement at the hospital. If she doesn’t, she may remain at Rampton for a minimum of 8 years to life.
Both the court system and the government-run health care system let down this family, offering no justice or resolution after their daughter’s gruesome death. The most disturbing aspect is that the woman who cannot be trusted to take her anti-psychotic medications may be free again in only 8 years.