Emily Jones Killer awarded nearly £70,000 in taxpayer-funded legal aid
The killer who slit the throat of seven-year-old Emily Jones in a broad daylight Mother’s Day attack was awarded nearly £70,000 in taxpayer-funded legal aid.
Eltiona Skana, 31, was jailed for life with a minimum of eight years in December after pleading guilty to Emily’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Paranoid schizophrenic Skana grabbed the child as she was riding her scooter through Queen’s Park in Bolton last March, then slashed her throat in front of her horrified parents.
She was sentenced under the Mental Health Act and will need to be medically assessed before she could ever be considered for release.
It has now emerged following a Freedom of Information request that Skana was awarded a total of £66,564.48 in legal aid by the Government.
The Ministry of Justice’s The Legal Aid Agency says these cheques covered the cost of her criminal defence representation.
Eltiona Skana (above), 31, was jailed for life with a minimum of eight years in December after pleading guilty to Emily’s manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility
Paranoid schizophrenic Skana grabbed Emily (above) as she was riding her scooter through Queen’s Park in Bolton last March, then slashed her throat in front of her horrified parents
But the Centre for Crime Prevention think tank has questioned the vast sum of taxpayer’s money she was awarded to cover her legal costs.
Research director David Spencer said: ‘The horrific crime committed by Eltiona Skana shocked the whole country.
‘It was an open and shut case and there was never any question of Skana’s guilt.
‘Questions therefore have to be asked about whether it is a sensible use of taxpayers money for her to receive such a vast sum of legal aid.
‘It epitomises everything that is wrong with the legal aid system and why it is so badly in need of reform.’
Skana was handed a hybrid sentence in December, so will only be sent to prison if her treatment allows it.
If she is never fit to be released from jail she will remain in hospital indefinitely.
A Legal Aid Agency spokesperson said: ‘Eltiona Skana did not receive a penny – it went to lawyers so she could face justice and ultimately be imprisoned.’
At the time of Emily’s death, Skana was being cared for by the Bolton North Community Mental Health Team. Pictured: Emily
It has emerged following a Freedom of Information request that Skana was awarded a total of £66,564.48 in legal aid by the Government. Pictured: Emily
Emily was killed by Skana in an unprovoked attack on March 22 last year while riding her scooter through Queen’s Park in Bolton.
Skana was known to pose a threat to youngsters by medical staff, but staff monitoring the Albanian in the community had no idea of the danger.
She entered the UK illegally in 2014 and applied for asylum, claiming she was a victim of trafficking. She was cared for by the Bolton North Community Mental Health Team.
The Home Office initially rejected her claim but, after an appeal, reversed its decision and later granted her leave to remain until December 2024. It is not known why.
Last December, Emily’s father Mark shared his daughter’s final moments after revealing they had gone to the park to see Emily’s mother, Sarah, go out for a jog.
‘I can remember saying to Emily ‘Go on, you can do your fastest lap’ because I used to time her from one end to another,’ Mark said in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.
‘And then I said, ‘Right, we are going to see mummy and then once we’ve seen mummy we will go for an ice cream.’ And she was like, ‘Yes, brilliant.’ And that was it.’
What happened next transformed the quiet Victorian park into a scene of almost unimaginable horror and shattered Mark and his family’s lives forever.
Emily spotted Sarah running along the bottom of the hill and excitedly said: ‘Daddy, daddy. I want to go to Mum.’ Mark replied ‘Of course’ and she shot off down a path that snakes its way down the hill.
Skana was known to pose a threat to youngsters by medical staff, but staff monitoring the Albanian in the community had no idea of the danger
Last December, Emily’s father Mark shared his daughter’s final moments after revealing they had gone to the park to see Emily’s mother, Sarah, go out for a jog. Pictured: Emily
But as Emily sped towards Sarah – calling out ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!’ to attract her attention – a lone figure sitting on a bench jumped up and grabbed her, put her in a headlock and cut her throat with a craft knife.
Sarah, who was wearing headphones, had not seen or heard Emily and kept running, oblivious to the appalling scene happening nearby.
Mark, who was 200 yards away, initially thought his daughter had fallen off her scooter and that the figure holding Emily was helping pick her up, until a woman nearby shouted: ‘She’s been stabbed.’
Emily was flown by air ambulance to Salford Royal Hospital but she died half an hour after her arrival.
Police (pictured at the scene) were called to Queen’s Park in Bolton, Greater Manchester, on March 22 following reports that a child had been stabbed
Anyone facing charges in the Crown Court could be eligible for Legal Aid, subject to a strict means test.
The MoJ states: ‘Applicants for criminal legal aid can be required to pay contributions up to the entire cost of their defence.
It adds: ‘The above costs include VAT and Disbursements. Disbursements are expenses incurred which although paid by the LAA directly to the providers, are then paid to other parties involved in the case.’
Criminals and defendants do not receive the payments, which are instead sent directly to solicitors and barristers who represent them to ensure a fair trial.
Without legal representation criminals could argue their trial was unfair and convictions could be quashed.
Last August, the Government promised an extra £51 million in funding for criminal legal aid lawyers in the first legal aid free increase in 25 years.
The Law Society of England and Wales said it was a ‘small step in the right direction for beleaguered defence practitioners whose profession is under threat’.
They warned: ‘A giant leap in investment is urgently required if criminal legal aid firms are to survive’.
Published at Thu, 20 May 2021 19:36:29 +0000
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