Emily Jones is the name of a 7-year-old girl from Britain who was killed on March 22 — the day when Britons celebrate Mother’s Day — after she was stabbed in a popular park in the Greater Manchester town of Bolton, according to The Guardian.
On November 6, a 30-year-old Albanian woman pleaded guilty to Jones’ “unlawful killing,” but she pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder, The Guardian reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jones Was Described as a ‘Bubbly’ & ‘Happy’ Young Girl
According to The Bolton News, Jones was the “daughter of credit manager Mark Jones and solicitor Sarah Barnes, from the Doffcocker area.”
Jones attending Markland Hill Primary school, which described her as “bubbly, sociable, and a joy to be around” as well as “a ray of sunshine,” in its Just Giving fundraising page set up in her honor.
The school wrote this about Jones:
Emily was fun, friendly and a loving little girl. She was creative and loved to draw and write stories. Emily was keen to do her work and would joke that she had finished before the others had even written the date. She was popular amongst her peers and was friends with everyone. Her smile was infectious and it lit up the room.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by Barnes, Jones showed that same energy and enthusiasm at home. She described Emily as a “happy, bubbly, beautiful and intelligent girl” who played tennis, swam and was learning horse-riding. According to Barnes, “Nothing fazed Emily at all, and as such she looked forward to visiting the climbing walls in Keswick and loved hiking.”
2. Jones Was Murdered in a Park on March 22, 2020
“The inquest heard that as she rode past a wooden bench, a female sat on the bench suddenly attacked Emily, stabbing her in the neck, causing a catastrophic injury,” the newspaper recounted. Jones’ parents witnessed the attack, The Guardian reported.
After the stabbing, Jones was rushed to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment but died before 4 p.m., according to The Bolton News.
3. Jones’ Murder Was Co-Opted by Racist Alt-Right Groups in Britain
Snopes, Reuters, USA Today and other news outlets fact-checked the false claim that Jones was “decapitated” by a “Somali” immigrant. How the rumor was started given that Skana was detained shortly after the crime, according to BBC, is unclear.
Reuters reported how, “Others, picking up on the false Somali link, have accused the media of covering up the case and used the murdered child’s photo on ‘White Lives Matter’ banners (here).” Snopes reported that “The tragic story of a 7-year-old’s killing was spun into racist misinformation shared on neo-Nazi websites.” Some people on Twitter said the murder was being co-opted by racist alt-right movements to “incite hatred against Somali men and argue against the BLM movement.”
The exploitation of Jones’ image in this fashion outraged many Britons and Americans.
Even the Greater Manchester Police posted a plea from Jones’ parents urging people to stop circulating the photo with the false claim. The statement partially read:
We are aware that many people are using the picture we released of our daughter Emily, when we publically paid tribute to her following the worst day of our lives, as part of recent protests and campaigns. Today we kindly ask the public to stop using the picture of our Emily from one of her days at school.
We hold this picture dear to our hearts and to see it being used in this way is incredibly upsetting – Emily loved everything and everyone, regardless of their race, gender or beliefs. As we’ve said before, she was beautiful inside and out and had a heart as big as her smile.
The parents went on to add that they were still grieving for Jones and that the use of Jones’ picture in those protests was “causing us huge distress.” They also said, “We thank you for your support with this matter and hope that you can respect our wishes. We wish everyone health and happiness at this uncertain time.”
4. Jones’ Parents Raised Several Thousand Dollars in Honor of Her
The GoFundMe page set up by Jones’ mother blew past its original goal of £7,000 pounds by raising £23,595 (the equivalent of $31,048.66). That money will go to benefit the Bolton Lads & Girls Club where Barnes volunteers as a mentor.
Barnes said she selected the organization because she wanted other children to be able to have the kinds of experiences her daughter did. “Not all children have the support Emily enjoyed, or the opportunities she had. Emily would have loved to help others and Bolton Lads and Girls Club provide the perfect opportunity to help children achieve their goals and provide much needed support,” Barnes wrote.
According to the Just Giving fundraising page set up by the Markland Hill Primary school, they raised £14,870 (the equivalent of $19,567.43). The money will go towards a memorial garden set up in Jones’ honor which the organizers said they want to be “fit for a princess.”
5. An Albanian Woman Pleaded Guilty to Jones’ Murder on November 6, 2020
The name of the 30-year-old woman accused of suddenly stabbing Jones is named Eltiona Skana, according to The Guardian. Skana pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful killing (the equivalent of manslaughter), although she pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of murder. After the stabbing, the Manchester Evening News reported that she was detained at the “high-security” Rampton Hospital under the Mental Health Act and accompanied by someone from her legal team there.
Skana, according to The Bolton News, is originally from Albania, but was living in Ernest Street, Bolton, at the time of the crime. The paper reported that she appeared with her “hair in a bun and wearing a white sweater and gillet” via a video link during her preliminary hearing and did not speak.
Prosecutors have seven days to consider whether they want to accept the manslaughter plea or go forward with a trial for murder at Manchester Crown Court on November 23, The Bolton News reported.