ELTIONA Skana, the woman who killed seven-year-old Emily Jones in a Bolton park on Mother's Day, has been found not guilty of murder.

On the seventh day of the trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court a jury was told that the prosecution are dropping the murder charge.

The move follows the last two days of evidence given by psychiatrists who stated that Skana, aged 30, of Ernest Street, Bolton, has paranoid schizophrenia and no other explanation could be offered for her killing Emily.

The prosecution had been alleging that Skana planned the killing, buying a knife and selecting a victim in the park and was hiding behind her mental condition.

But in a dramatic move today they discontinued the case with Michael Brady QC stating that there was now no realistic prospect of a conviction and Mr Justice Wall asked the jury of 11 to formally return not guilty verdicts.

Mr Brady said that to reach a conclusion of murder the court would have had to be satisfied that, when Skana killed Emily, her mental condition did not substantially impair her ability to understand the nature of her conduct, form a rational judgement or impair her ability to exercise self control.

He added that the prosecution had decided not to offer any further evidence and invite the jury to return a "not guilty" verdict after psychiatrists giving evidence have been unable to offer any  explanation for Skana's behaviour other than she was experiencing paranoid delusions due to her schitzophenia at the time she killed Emily.

Yesterday Skana's psychiatrist at Rampton Hospital, Dr Afghan, said he had been unable to assess Skana's mental functioning at the time she killed the little girl as she would not discuss it. 

Skana, who watched proceedings via a video link from Rampton Secure Hospital, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Wall paid tribute to Emily's parents, Mark Jones and Sarah Barnes, who have sat watching proceedings in court throughout the trial, saying they have behaved with "dignity and restraint" throughout.

Mr Jones had taken his daughter to Queens Park on March 22, where they had arranged to meet the child's mum.

But shortly after they arrived, as Emily played on her scooter, Skana, who has a history of paranoid schizophrenia and violence, stood up from a bench, grabbed her and slashed her throat with a craft knife.

Mr Jones cradled his daughter as paramedics tried to save her but she had gone into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead after being flown to Salford Royal Hospital by air ambulance.

A member of the public, Tony Canty, chased after Skana, an Albanian asylum seeker, as she tried to run away and kept hold of her until police arrived.