The 15-year-old girl who was stabbed to death on her way to school had aspired to become a lawyer, her devastated aunt has said.
The first picture of the victim, named locally as Eliyanna Andam, has emerged after she was killed in Croydon, South London on Wednesday.
Witnesses claimed an argument broke out between Eliyanna, her friends and pupils from another school as they travelled on the number 60 bus.
The row then spilled out onto the pavement, where the attacker stabbed Eliyanna at around 8.30am.
One girl was seen being held back, screaming: “That’s my best friend,” as she tried to push past the crowds to reach the wounded teenager.
Police arrested a 17-year-old boy not far from the scene of the attack around 75 minutes later.
Speaking from the family home, half a mile away from where Eliyanna was killed, her aunt told of the family’s “heartbreak” over the death and how she dreamed of being a lawyer.
The woman, who gave her name as Marian, told The Mirror: “This is a tragedy. It hasn’t sunk in yet for my sister. [Eliyanna] wanted to be a lawyer. She went to a private school and had a great future ahead of her. My sister paid for her education.”
She added: “She was a lovely girl, loved gymnastics. She loved doing her hair. We are all devastated by this. We are a big family and we are all here for my sister.”
Anthony King from My Ends, an organisation that aims to reduce violence, described how the teenager had a “bright future ahead of her”.
He told The Telegraph: “She was an absolutely incredible young lady, very articulate, [she] really had a fantastic future ahead of her.”
Eliyanna was a pupil at Old Palace of John Whitgift School, a 134-year-old girls’ school, which charges fees of up to £19,350 a year.
A school statement said staff were “deeply shocked by the senseless and tragic death of our much-loved and valued friend and pupil”.
Eliyanna is the 16th teenager to be killed in London so far in 2023.
Her parents are being comforted by friends and family at their Croydon home and specialist officers were also supporting the grieving couple.
The 17-year-old suspect arrested remains in custody.
Chief Supt Andy Brittain, the local police chief, said: “This is every parent’s worst nightmare, and I know the officers who responded, along with our emergency services colleagues, are devastated at the victim’s death.
“This is an emotion I share, and I know people across Croydon will be feeling the same. The victim’s family has been informed and our thoughts are with them at what must be an incredibly difficult time.”