Family of Elianne Andam say they are ‘broken’ by her killing

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Elianne’s aunt Ruby Paintsil (left) said: “If we could change the clock I wish we would not have to go through this”
By Liz Jackson
BBC News

The family of Elianne Andam say they are “broken” and “are not the same” since the day she was killed.

The 15-year-old girl was stabbed at about 08:30 BST on her way to school in Croydon, south London, on 27 September.

A 17-year-old boy is charged with murder and is due to appear in court on 19 December.

Speaking to the BBC the day before Elianne’s funeral, they said it will be “a celebration of her life” and she will “forever remain in our hearts”.

Shortly before a community event at Croydon Voluntary Action on Friday, Elianne’s aunts Regina Boafo and Ruby Paintsil spoke of their “amazing” niece’s dreams to be lawyer and to “defend… the voiceless”.

“She doesn’t like injustice; she likes justice for people. Every time she’d get in trouble [it was] fighting for someone else,” Ms Paintsil said.

Elianne’s aunt Regina Boafo said her niece was a “good girl” and “she would never get into any fight with anyone”

They said although the teenager was “very quiet” she loved dancing and singing and was always “smiling a lot”.

Ms Paintsil said Elianne was respectful of her family and enjoyed spending time with them, adding: “She doesn’t like really a lot of arguments; she would never argue with her auntie or uncle.”

The aunts said they never expected such a tragedy would happen to them, or that moments after Elianne said goodbye and set off for school she would be dead.

“That is the bit I cannot get out of my head,” Ms Boafo said.

“She is very calm, she was the last person I would ever think someone would harm her with a knife,” Ms Paintsil said.

She stressed Elianne didn’t mix with “the wrong people” and the aunts said she would keep in touch with family if she went out to the cinema or a restaurant.

Speaking about the day Elianne was killed, Ms Boafo said after waking up she saw her phone had been called “many times” and when she found out her niece had died she was “really destroyed, broken”.

Since her niece’s death, Ms Boafo said she hasn’t been able to work and rarely leaves the house. She has moved in with her sister – Elianne’s mother – to help support her.

“Up to now, I’m still not the same woman… I can’t do anything. I get up and I don’t even feel like dressing up, but you have to put clothes on because people are coming to sympathise with you,” she explained.

“I wish nobody would ever go through this pain,” Elianne’s aunt Ruby Paintsil said

“If I can’t even do things, just imagine how my sister feels – my sister who was trying to be strong and go to work, she can’t.”

“She is broken a lot… we have to keep comforting her. She hasn’t been herself, every day broken into pieces,” Ms Paintsil said.

“If we could change the clock I wish we would not have to go through this.

“You ask questions – why? Why does that have to happen?” she added. “I wish nobody would ever go through this pain.”

Despite their grief, both women said they have been amazed at the support from the community along with thousands of cards and messages sent from around the world – all of which has “really helped” their family.

Thousands of people attended a vigil in Croydon to remember Elianne

“We really appreciate everything the nation and everyone is doing… thank you,” Ms Boafo said.

Elianne’s funeral will be held in Croydon on Saturday.

Ms Paintsil said after her burial there will be a celebration of her life because “she’s a girl that liked to bring joy to people’s lives”.

“If Elianne was here she’d say ‘go on, have fun, don’t break down’, and things like that.”

Ms Boafo added: “It will be nice to celebrate it and for us, she will forever remain in our hearts – she can never be gone.

“Even though she is gone, we know that her memory will forever be with us.”

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