A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD girl who was stabbed to death by a stranger was today remembered as a "ray of sunshine".
Emily Jones was fatally attacked by a woman while at Queen's Park in Bolton, Manchester, on Mother's Day, in front of her horrified family.
The 30-year-old woman arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder was assessed by specialist medical staff and detained under the Mental Health Act.
She is not known to the girl's family and remains in a highly secure facility.
Today, Emily's school Markland Hill paid tribute to the little girl who had a "smile as big as she was".
Headteacher Louise Close said Emily would be missed by all her schoolmates and staff, adding: "we are all heartbroken".
She said: "I want you all to know how much Emily was loved.
"Her loss has left a hole in our hearts and the school will never be the same again.
"The staff who worked closest with Emily wanted to share the following: Emily was fun, friendly and a loving little girl. She was creative and loved to draw and write stories.
"Emily was keen to do her work and would joke that she had finished before the others had even written the date. She was popular amongst her peers and was friends with everyone.
"Her smile was infectious and it lit up the room.
"Emily was bubbly, sociable and a joy to be around: she was a ray of sunshine.
"What I remember about Emily is her smile, it was as big as she was, and she lit up a room.
"She has been tragically taken from us but she will never be forgotten."
PARENTS PAY TRIBUTE TO THEIR LITTLE GIRL
Paying tribute to Emily, her parents said: "Emily was 7-years-old, our only child and the light of our lives.
“She was always full of joy, love and laughter.
“Emily had such a cheeky smile and was beautiful inside and out. She had a heart as big as her smile.
“Emily was never happier than when she was spending time with her family and friends, she was our own little social butterfly.
“Emily had a passion for the outdoors and loved to play any sport, even when she was wearing her pink sparkly dresses!!
“We are beyond devastated that this random act of violence means that we will never get to see our beautiful little girl grow up into the wonderful young lady she was showing such promise of becoming.
“It is truly heart breaking to wake up to a world without Emily in it and we cannot comprehend why this has happened.
“We would like to thank the members of the public that assisted us in the park and express our gratitude to the emergency services for doing their upmost to save Emily’s life.
“Thank you to everyone for their kind messages of support and for continuing to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: "Words cannot describe how awful this attack is.
"The family were out in the park, enjoying the spring sun when in a totally unprovoked and random attack this little girl sustained horrendous injuries and sadly died a short while later.
"A 30-year-old woman who was not known to the family was detained by a member of the public and then arrested by the police."
Detectives are continuing to appeal for information.
Anyone with any information should contact police on 0161 856 8797 or 101 quoting incident number 1430 of the 22/03/20, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with any images or footage that could assist enquiries should send them to email@example.com.
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