The parents of a seven-year-old girl who was stabbed to death in front of them in a park have said they are “beyond devastated”, as they described their only child as “beautiful inside and out”.
Emily Jones was attacked by a stranger with a knife in Queen’s Park, Bolton, on Sunday and died a short time later.A 30-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and was later detained under the Mental Health Act.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Emily’s parents – who witnessed the stabbing – said their daughter “had a heart as big as her smile” and described her as a “little social butterfly”.
“Emily was seven years old, our only child and the light of our lives,” they said.
“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.”
They added: “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 heart breaking 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 upmost to save Emily’s life.”
Police say that having seen the “horrendous attack”, a member of the public “bravely chased after” the alleged attacker and detained her until police arrived.
The 30-year-old woman arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder was assessed by specialist medical staff and detained under the Mental Health Act.
She remains in a highly secure facility.