A "bright and popular" teenager has been knifed to death on a crowded bus in an apparently random attack as she made her way to school.
Christina Edkins, 16, was killed shortly after she boarded the double decker during the morning rush hour. Police launched a massive manhunt for a fellow passenger who fled the scene in the wake of her murder and later arrested a 22-year-old man.
The stabbing came a month after Miss Edkins voiced concerns about a fellow passenger on another bus journey. On February 8 she told friends on Twitter: "This man is worrying me on the bus keeps getting up and walking up and down stairs, and sitting in different place".
The teenager, a pupil at Leasowes High School in Halesowen, West Midlands, was attacked in front of hordes of commuters at around 7.30am on Thursday. Emergency services were called to Hagley Road, in Birmingham, at 7.37am when the vehicle's driver raised the alarm. But medics who rushed to the scene were unable to save her.
Miss Edkins is not believed to have known her assailant, who was already on the bus when she got on board.
Detective Superintendent Richard Baker, of West Midlands Police, said detectives were investigating the theory that her murder was a random attack and said officers were considering a number of possible motives. He said: "This is a tragic case and the victim's family are devastated." Police officers stood guard at the Edkins' semi-detached house near Birmingham city centre for much of the day while family liaison officers sought to comfort relatives.
Just hours earlier, the teenager had posted some apparently despairing messages on Twitter. She wrote: "Why can't something go right for once" and her final tweet read: "Don't need anyone to talk to about how I feel just need someone to be lazy with me and watch films and make me laugh."
Police said they would consider her social networking footprint as part of their investigation. Officers were also examining CCTV while specialist forensic investigators were brought in to comb the murder scene.
The arrested man was held after an extensive search involving police dogs and firearms officers. He was detained on suspicion of murder following a short chase after he was seen acting suspiciously near a Morrison's supermarket.
Flowers were also left near the scene on Hagley Road. On one bunch of roses, a card read: "Christina a truly lovely young girl. We'll miss you. Rest in peace angel. Cass and Ben" On another bunch of mixed flowers the message on the card read: "To Christina. We will miss you loads. You were a beautiful girl and a bundle of joy. Rest in peace cutey. Lots of love Ryan and Dale xxx" A message on another mixed bunch simply read: "Christina. Gone but never forgotten. Love you loads. Broddersz xxx"