Mar 22 2013
The family of a 16-year-old girl stabbed to death on a bus has been "overwhelmed" by the support of well-wishers.
Christina Edkins was killed by a stab wound to the chest as she was on a bus making her way to school on Thursday March 7.
Speaking before her funeral at Birmingham Cathedral, her cousin Stephen Newby said: "Today we will say goodbye to Christina."
He added: "We are devastated that she should have been taken away so senselessly and continue to try to come to terms with what has happened.
"We have been overwhelmed and comforted by the spontaneous reactions of so many people. While many of them never knew Christina, all have been touched in some way by this tragic event and share in our grief."
He added: "We would like to thank everybody for their support and kindness, in particular the local groups whose efforts have been so meaningful to us.
"The determination and support of the police has been invaluable at this very difficult time and we would like to thank all of the officers involved. We hope that justice will be done and that Christina can be allowed to rest peacefully."
Phillip Simelane, 22, of Walsall, has been charged with murdering Christina, and remains in custody to appear at Birmingham Crown Court for a plea hearing on May 31.
The teenager's silver coffin was taken to the cathedral in a white carriage, pulled by a pair of white horses. Christina's parents Jason and Kathleen led her family into the 300-year-old building which was packed with those wanting to pay their respects.
Despite the icy chill, about 300 mourners stood outside to pay their respects, while inside the service was attended by 600 family and friends. Among them were 120 pupils from Leasowes High School, which Christina attended in Halesowen, and colleagues from the Tesco supermarket where she worked part-time.