THE family of 16-year-old Christina Edkins, who was stabbed to death on a bus as she travelled to school in Halesowen, paid an emotional farewell in Birmingham today.

Christina was killed by a single stab wound to the chest on Thursday, March 7. Her funeral was held today at St Phillips Cathedral in Birmingham.

Speaking before the service on behalf of Christina’s family, her cousin Stephen Newby said: “Today we will say goodbye to Christina.

“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.

“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 murder and remains in custody to appear at Birmingham Crown Court for a plea hearing on May 31.