UK & World News
Bus Stabbing Girl: Funeral Of Christina Edkins
The family of a 16-year-old girl stabbed to death on a bus say they have been "overwhelmed" by the support of well-wishers.
Christina Edkins' funeral was held at Birmingham Cathedral.
Speaking on behalf of Ms Edkins' family before the service, 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."
Ms Edkins died of a single stab wound to her chest on March 7 during morning rush hour after she was attacked on the top deck of a bus in Edgbaston.
The driver raised the alarm and attempts were made to resuscitate the schoolgirl, but she died at the scene.
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.
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.
There were tearful tributes to Christina, including from her school principal, Neil Shaw, who called her "an inspiration".
Following her death, Mr and Mrs Edkins described her as a "bubbly, beautiful and intelligent" teenager.
They said in a statement: "We are heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful princess, Christina, and it's hard to find words to describe the pain we're all feeling.
"Her family and friends will remember her as an amazing individual with her whole life ahead of her - a life that was tragically cut short on that Thursday morning.
"Our lives will never be the same again."
The grieving parents added: "We are truly overwhelmed by the kindness that's been shown by friends and neighbours, people who knew Christina well and also those who never got the chance to meet her."
Her parents said she was "just like most 16-year-olds" and had been studying hard for forthcoming exams while looking forward to her school prom.
The statement continued: "We'd bought Christina's prom dress the week before and recall the day she tried it on ... she looked like a princess.
"Christina was studying extremely hard for her exams and weighing up which college to attend.
"In many ways she was like most 16-year-olds - worried about her appearance, what fake tan to wear, how her hair and nails looked and about 'hot boys', as Christina would call them!
"We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, flowers, teddies, balloons and candles ... the support has been fantastic and shows what good, kind people there are in this world.
"We'd like to thank West Bromwich Albion for their half-time tribute at the weekend and to the fans for their heartfelt applause, which was very emotional."
Phillip Simelane, 22, from Walsall, has been charged with her murder.
He has been remanded in custody in a secure mental health unit and is due to appear in court for a plea hearing on May 31.