A 16-year-old girl who was killed as she rode the bus to school died from a single stab wound to the chest, police revealed today.
Christina Edkins was set upon in a violent knife attack moments after boarding the number 9 bus on the Hagley Road in Birmingham city centre at 7.37am on Thursday.
Officers investigating the teenager’s death said that a post-mortem confirmed that she had died from a knife wound to her chest.
Police also issued a fresh appeal for witnesses and revealed only half of the 16 passengers on board at the time of the attack had come forward.
It comes as officers released a picture from the bus’s CCTV camera showing the back of a man wearing a dark hoody with a distinctive tiger motif on the back.
The man is seen standing with his back to the driver with his hands on the door handles.
Police did not confirm whether the image was taken before of after Christina was stabbed.
Officers say they wanted to hear from anyone who recognised the man in the image.
Det Supt Richard Baker from West Midlands Police said: “We know there are a number of passengers who were on the bus yesterday morning when Christina was attacked while she was sitting upstairs.
“Some of these passengers were sitting downstairs on the bus and they haven’t yet spoken to police.
“They may not even have known what happened but may have vital evidence and it is crucial they contact us as soon as possible on 101.
“Yesterday’s events were truly tragic and it’s extremely important everyone comes forward and speaks to us.
“We will also be able to signpost them to professional agencies who can help them come to terms with being witness to such a tragedy.”
Commuters appeared to be avoiding the bus route yesterday when it was re-opened following the tragedy.
Chilling snaps of the top deck of the First West Midlands Bus show rows of empty seats on the normally bustling rush hour service.
Passengers using the same service yesterday said they feared for their safety following the apparently random attack.
Tony Saunders, 58, who uses the bus three or four times a week said: “It’s scary, you just don’t know who’s going to be on the bus now.
“I’m just shocked that it could happen, really shocked. To think that on the bus I take someone could be stabbed.”
Another traveller, who wished to be only named as Indie, said she had missed the bus that Christina used by seconds.
She said: “I missed that exact bus by 10 seconds yesterday, I saw it drive off from my stop.
“I have mixed feelings about being on it, obviously I’m glad I’m wasn’t there to be attacked, but on the other hand I wonder if I could have helped if I was there.
“I have to use the bus every day to get to work, but it’s terrifying now, you don’t know what will happen.”
Another traveller on the bus Christina would have used to travel to school, who did not want to be named, said she was “nervous” about travelling again.
She added: “Who knows what you might find on a bus now, I was on an earlier bus yesterday but if it was a random attack, I mean, it could be you couldn’t it?”
Meanwhile, dozens of well-wishers and school friends left floral tributes near the scene of Christina’s death.
One moving message, addressed from ‘Ryan and Dale’, read: “To Christina, we will miss you loads you were a beautiful girl and a bundle of joy.
“Rest in Peace Cutey (sic).”
Another note read: “I didn’t know you, I was meant to be on the bus though. I wish I was there to make your final moments less painful.
“Heaven is so lucky to have such a beautiful little angel, sweet dreams princess we all love you.”
Christina, who dreamed about being a nurse, had just boarded the bus on her way to Leasowes High School in Halesowen, West Mids., when she was killed.
Officers are probing the possibility she knew her attacker – and examining her social network profiles for clues.
Just weeks before her death, Christina had sent a chilling tweet expressing concerns about a man acting strangely on her bus.
A 22-year-old man, Philip Simelane was arrested on suspicion of murder near the scene and remained in police custody yesterday.
A female bus passenger told how she desperately tried to save dying school girl Christina Edkins as the killer waited patiently to get off the bus.
Stephanie Bent, from Birmingham, described giving the teenager CPR until medics arrived.
On her Facebook page she wrote: “Right i wasnt go to say anything but some of you idiots that know nothing need to wind your neck in, i was on that bus i knew what he had done and he was stood next to me when he was getting off, all i could think of was i hope he gets off this stop so i can go upstairs and help the girl, thankfully he got off and i was able to go upstairs and help the girl as best i could i gave CPR until medics arrived and am deeply traumatised i could not save her. i certainly wasnt going to confront a knifeman knowing he had just stabbed someone i thought me may stab me too all i cared about was getting up to the girl to help, so all of you who wasnt there shut the hell up would ny of you apprehended a knifeman i dont bloody think so, have some respect for her family and stop speculating about things you know nothing about, easy to sit behind a computer screen saying i would have done this and that but would you really when faced with it???? I think not seeing as i was the only person other than 2 other girls that actually tried helping her!!!!!”