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Profile of a killer - Phillip Simelane
PHILLIP Simelane’s long history of violence and mental illness began at school and got progressively worse as he got older.
Due to his paranoid schizophrenia going untreated for years he became a knife-carrying time bomb travelling on buses for hours at a time convinced he would be killed any minute.
He came to England with his mother aged nine and settled in Walsall, however, it was at secondary school that problems began to surface.
After complaining of bullying Simelane began locking himself in his room, refusing to wash and having violent outbursts with his family.
His mother pleaded with his school (George Dixon School in Edgbaston) and doctors to get him mental health treatment but to no avail.
In the next nine years she would phone the police 21 times about his violent and threatening behaviour.
He’d left school without any qualifications and would eventually enrol at Bourneville College but failed to attend lessons there, again citing bullying for his reason for not leaving the house.
In 2007 he was first arrested by the police and reprimanded for carrying a knife before being arrested again for being in enclosed premises.
His vicious streak became apparent to authorities in 2009 when he was arrested for pushing a three-year-old relative against a wall, he was given a caution.
In the following two years he kept out of trouble but in March 2012 a chilling incident occurred which had parallels with Christina's killing a year later.
After singing to two schoolgirls on the number nine bus Simelane became very agitated when they rejected his advances, a witness said they got off the bus quickly leaving him screaming "I will kill you all" and banging the bus seats.
Subsequently passengers on the bus spoke of how it was obvious he was mentally ill.
In May 2012 his life spiralled out of control.
He was arrested for criminal damage and then again for smashing windows at his mother’s house which resulted in a conditional discharge for six months.
He then flipped and held a knife to his terrified mother's belly, threatening to kill her. When arrested he assaulted a police officer and eventually charged and jailed for battery of his mother.
He spent 11 days in HMP Hewell after his arrest and then was sentenced and jailed for battery on July 13, he spent 101 days HMP Hewell before being released early on license.
At Hewell HMP he was assessed and treated by mental health doctors who recognised his serious mental health problems and recommended he have intensive hospital treatment as he was a danger to himself and others, also, they warned about him being released from prison without supervision.
When he was released from HMP Hewell his mother noticed an improvement in him but without the medication he was taking in prison he slipped back into his old ways.
A week after being released he was arrested again, this time for vehicle interference and possessing cocaine, this triggered his license and he was sent to HMP Birmingham to finish the battery sentence.
Despite mental health experts recommending he be hospitalised or given mental health provision he was released without any supervision or a home.
He was released from HMP Birmingham in December 2012 without an address to live and began sleeping rough and riding on buses to keep warm.
The next time he was arrested was hours after he had killed Christina Edkins on March 7.
He had been on the bus for over two hours before Christina boarded the bus and was carrying a knife, his paranoid delusions made him believe she was a threat and he plunged a 12 inch knife in her chest.
Detective Sergeant Harry May, chief investigating officer, said: “Simelane's mother is devastated, she is very remorseful, she thinks it is a tragedy and has the utmost sympathy for Christina's parents.”
In custody doctors sectioned him under the mental health act and subsequently diagnosed him with paranoid schzophrenia.
After pleading guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibilities Simelane will remain in a secure mental health facility indefinitely.
DS May said: “We have never spoken to him about this crime due to the Mental Health Act and never will.”
The only statement Simelane has made was read out at court, he said: “I did not want to kill that girl, I am ashamed, I would like to apologise.”
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