The parents of a seven-year-old girl who was fatally stabbed in a Greater Manchester park have urged far-right protesters to stop using her photo at protests.
Schoolgirl Emily Jones was attacked by a woman while she was in Queen’s Park, Bolton, with her parents on the afternoon of Sunday March 22.
Her picture, released by the family in a tribute to her, is now being used by those opposing Black Lives Matter protests.
Hope Not Hate warned in an article published to their site on June 3 that pictures of white victims including Emily, Lee Rigby and Charlene Downes had been released by Britain First, overlaid with the text “White Lives Matter.”
In a statement released by Greater Manchester Police on Wednesday, her parents Sarah and Mark said: “We are aware that many people are using the picture we released of our daughter Emily, when we publicly paid tribute to her following the worst day of our lives, as part of recent protests and campaigns.
“Today we kindly ask the public to stop using the picture of our Emily from one of her days at school.
“We hold this picture dear to our hearts and to see it being used in this way is incredibly upsetting – Emily loved everything and everyone, regardless of their race, gender or beliefs.
“As we’ve said before, she was beautiful inside and out and had a heart as big as her smile.
“We can’t thank people enough for the support we have received as we continue to live through the nightmare that is life without Emily, but we’re still grieving over the loss of our beautiful daughter and seeing her picture being used as part of recent protests is causing us huge distress.”
Eltiona Skana, 30, has been charged with Emily’s murder and is due to appear in court for a plea and pre-trial hearing on September 15.
Emily’s parents added: “A woman has been charged with the murder of our daughter and we want to ensure that we respect the legal process and ask people not to speculate over the circumstances surrounding her death.
“We thank you for your support with this matter and hope that you can respect our wishes. We wish everyone health and happiness at this uncertain time.”
Earlier this month, the mother of murdered fusilier Lee Rigby called for his memory to stop being used to “fuel arguments against the Black Lives Matter protests”.
In a post on the Lee Rigby Foundation Facebook page, Lyn Rigby said: “Lee proudly served his country to protect the rights and freedoms of all members of this great melting pot of a nation.
“Seeing his image used to cause hate of any kind, especially for those exercising their freedoms in protest against this issue, hurts.”