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''OUR WORLD has been torn apart by the loss of our beautiful princess" those are the words of Jason and Kathleen Edkins in a moving tribute to their daughter Christina who was fatally stabbed on a Birmingham bus last week.
The tribute comes as West Midlands Police were today (March 12) given authority by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge 22-year-old Walsall man Phillip Simelane with Christina's murder; he will be formally charged with the 16-year-old's murder in due course.
Christina's devastated parents have welcomed the decision and, speaking publically for the first time about their daughter's death, have described Christina as a "bubbly, beautiful and intelligent" teenager.
They added: "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.
"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."
The family tribute also tells how Christina was studying hard for her exams, looking forward to her school prom and was "just like most 16-year-olds".
It continues: "We'd bought Christina"s prom dress the week before and recall the day she tried it on…she looked like a princess. She was our 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.
"Finally we'd like to thank West Midlands Police for all the help and support they've given us through this difficult and distressing time. We're relieved to hear a man will soon be charged and, hopefully, we can soon get justice for Christina.
"We've heard talk of protests in Christina's name, clamouring for swift justice. But as a family we'd urge people to remain calm, be patient and let the legal process take its course."
Detectives will formally charge the 22-year-old suspect in the near future following the CPS authorisation. He was arrested shortly after the stabbing and has since been in a secure unit for mental health assessment.
West Midlands Police Detective Superintendent Rich Baker, said: "This was a horrific, random attack and one that's understandably shocked many people I'm pleased to announce we now have authority to charge the suspect with murder.
"I'd like to thanks Christina's family for their continued support and patience during our enquiry. Everyone wants to see justice for Christina and her family and from day one we've been determined to help deliver that justice for them."