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Tributes to schoolgirl Eliyanna Andam, 15, who was knifed to death while trying to protect pal

Tributes have poured in for a 15-year-old schoolgirl who was stabbed to death as she tried to protect her pal.

Old Palace student Eliyanna Andam - who friends said had a "bright future" ahead of her - was knifed to death in Croydon after a boy tried to give his former girlfriend flowers and a love note on the No60 double-decker bus.

She was returning a bag of items after they separated recently, but a row broke out and he raced after her at a bus stop.

The boy is said to have pulled out a foot-long, serrated zombie knife and stabbed Eliyanna when she leapt to her pal's defence on Wellesley Road in south London yesterday.

Both the land and air ambulance rushed to the scene but she was pronounced dead at the scene 40 minutes later.

Around an hour and 15 minutes after the stabbing, police arrested a teenage boy in connection with the girl's death.

Marian, an aunt of the teenage victim, told the Sun outside the family home just half a mile from the crime scene: "She had a bright future ahead of her.

"She was a lovely girl, loved doing her hair. She wanted to be a lawyer, and she was at a private school paid for by my sister.

"We are devastated by this. She was a 15-year-old, what can you say? This is a tragedy and the worst that's happened to the family.

"It's a big family and everyone has come together for my sister, we are supporting each other.

"We can't comprehend the heartbreak of the last 24 hours. We hope to put out a further statement later.

"She went to school and she didn’t come home."

Asked how Eliyanna's mum was feeling, the aunt said: "Not good. It only happened yesterday."

Anthony King, chairman of My Ends - a project helping combat youth violence in Croydon, was with the girl's family after the incident and said they were "heartbroken".

He added: "She had a bright future ahead of her. She was in her GCSE year."

Mr King described the girl as an "absolutely incredible young lady" and told of how others said she was "jovial, very comedic".

Yesterday at the scene, a bloodied bouquet was seen on the floor outside the Whitgift shopping centre.

Security worker Victor Asare described the horrific scene, saying: "A lot of people came, everyone came off the bus.

"(The suspect) ran. Everybody was crying and screaming. The girl was on the floor.

"We tried to catch him and a lot of people tried to save the girl. I was so shocked, I was shaken. It's somebody's daughter.

"I finished work but couldn't sleep so came back. I wanted to see if the girl was OK."

He said the girl, who was in a green blazer, looked as if she "didn't want the boy to come closer" before he stabbed her with a knife, which was "black, thin and about a foot long".

Her family rushed to the scene, but she died 50 minutes after the 8.30am stabbing.

The suspect fled to New Addington five miles away where he was arrested on a tram.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was "absolutely heartbroken" at the news of the girl's death.

"My thoughts and prayers are with this young girl's family and friends, and the whole community, at this unimaginably awful time," he added.

"I promise to continue working day and night to end the scourge of knife crime in our city."

Mayor of Croydon Jason Perry said in a statement on social media: "I am devastated to hear that the teenage girl who was stabbed in the town centre this morning has tragically died.

"The Council are in touch with the police and will fully support their investigations.

"Our whole community's thoughts will be with the victim's family and friends."

Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central, tweeted: "I am heartbroken that a child has been killed on her way to school.

"I cannot imagine what her family and friends are going through at this horrific time."

The school said in a statement: "We are deeply shocked by the senseless and tragic death of our much-loved and valued friend and pupil.

"It will take some time for the Old Palace community to come to terms with this terrible news, and we will offer support to our pupils as we try to do so.

"Above all, we send our love and deepest sympathies to the girl's family at this unimaginably distressing time."

More than 40 bunches of flowers have been laid, and a number of cards and candles have also been placed at the scene.

One card said: "Rest in peace angel condolences to your family at this very sad time."

Another said: "Rest in peace little princess so sad your life is taken away at your prime. You have touched my soul."

A woman who works opposite where Eliyanna was stabbed to death said she was "struck down in her prime".

Filomena Merola laid flowers by the police tape on Thursday morning.

Credit: thesun


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