Liverpool shooting: Police give update after death of nine year old
Detectives believe the killer, dressed all in black, was chasing a man who barged into Olivia house as he tried to escape a hail of bullets.
The youngster with an enchanting smile was hiding behind her mother, Cheryl, when a 35-year-old man ran up the path of their suburban Liverpool home and burst in.
Police said Cheryl, 46, had heard the noise and opened the door to see what was going on. But as she tried desperately to close it, the first man forced his way in.
The mystery shooter reached around and fired into the house – hitting her in the wrist.
That single bullet passed through her and struck the youngster in the chest, causing catastrophic injuries.
The callous gunman continued to push his way in and opened fire on the man he had been chasing, before fleeing on foot.
The 35-year-old – who suffered several gunshot wounds to his upper body- was picked up by his friends who arrived in a dark Audi, as the little girl lay dying.
He was later dropped off at hospital.
Merseyside Police, who raced to the red-brick semi in Kingsheath Avenue, Dovecot, found Olivia a critical condition. They drove her to Alder Hey Hospital where doctors battled in vain to save her.
Forensic officers near to the scene where Olivia was fatally shot
Nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel
Cheryl, who also had two older children in the house, was taken to Aintree Hospital by ambulance.
Yesterday(Tues) Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said the attack was shocking and appalling and the shooter had had “complete disregard” for anyone who was inside the house.
Olivia’s family had “no connection” with either of the two men, she said. They were “torn apart… absolutely devastated, inconsolable and heartbroken”.
Appealing for help from the public and the criminal fraternity, she added: “I know that the murder of Olivia has rocked our community, that such an abhorrent crime has occurred here on the streets of Merseyside.”
“The killing of a nine-year-old child is an absolute tragedy and crosses every single boundary.”
“No mum, no dad, no sister or brother should ever have to experience loss in this way.”
“This is not the time for anyone who knows who is responsible for this shooting to remain tight-lipped.”
“It is time for our communities to come together with us and make Merseyside a place where the use of guns on our streets is totally unacceptable – and those who use them are held to account. We will not rest until those who are responsible are behind bars.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “horrific, senseless shooting”. “My thoughts are with Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s family and the people of Liverpool following this horrific, senseless shooting,” he said.
It was an “unimaginable tragedy”, Mr Johnson said, and he promised Merseyside Police would get “whatever they need to catch those responsible and secure justice for Olivia”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the “horrific, senseless shooting”
Home Secretary Priti Patel has offered her “heartfelt condolences” to the family of the nine-year-old shot dead in Liverpool and promised Merseyside Police her “full support”.
Rebecca Wilkinson from St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School said: “Our school community is devastated at the sad loss of Olivia. We are in shock and disbelief at such tragic news.”
“Olivia was a much loved member of our school. She had a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour, and a bubbly personality. She was kind hearted and would go out of her way to help others.”
“She loved to perform and recently participated in the school production of The Wizard of Oz.”
“Olivia will be missed greatly by staff and children at our school. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this extremely sad time.”
Poignantly the murder happened on the 15th anniversary of the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, the innocent schoolboy caught in crossfire between gangs as he walked home from football practise in Croxteth in 2007.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Con Kennedy said that should have been a “watershed” moment around the use of guns on their streets.
“But shockingly there are still callous criminals prepared to use weapons who have utter disregard for the heartache and pain they have caused to Olivia’s family,” she said.
Children leave flowers near the scene in Liverpool
Detective Chief Supt Mark Kameen said that two men were walking along Kingsheath Avenue at around 10pm when they were approached by a lone person wearing a black padded jacket and a black balaclava with a peak, dark pants and black gloves.
He said the individual – potentially a man – was 5ft 7in tall and of slim build and carrying a handgun.
CCTV showed him shooting at the two men, who ran away.
“Responding to the sounds of those gunshots, Olivia’s mum Cheryl opened the door to her property to see what was going on.”
“One of the men being chased ran towards the door and forced his way into the property despite the best efforts of Cheryl and made his way inside,” he said.
“The person with the gun followed the man into the property and managed to put their hand through the open door as Cheryl continues to try and close it.”
“A shot has been fired injuring Cheryl and fatally wounding Olivia, who was stood directly behind Cheryl.”
“Despite that the attacker has continued the assault and fired two further shots at the 35-year-old who was by then inside the address. The attacker than left on foot.”
He said the dark Audi then collected the wounded 35-year-old from the front of the house and took him to hospital.
Det Supt Kameen said the car had since been seized and a team of detectives were now working ‘tirelessly’ to bring all the perpetrators to justice.
“We are absolutely committed to finding the person responsible and everyone connected with this offence.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen and Chief Superintendent Diane Pownall of Merseyside Police
He appealed for the second man who had been walking along Kingsheath Avenue to hand himself in.
As forensics experts combed the scene and conducted house to house enquiries, shocked neighbours were visibly shaken by the events of the night.
One man, whose son would play with the victim, said: “We’re still in shock, I don’t think it’s settled in. She was just a nice little girl; she would ride up and down on her bike. We want to move now.”
Meanwhile, a little girl came out of her home, holding a hand-written sign, which she posted on the wall with a piece of tape.
It read: “Wanted. Be careful. Wanted people on the lose. They have guns.”
In fact, Olivia is the third person to be shot dead in the city in a matter of days. Council worker Ashley Dale, 28 was killed in her home in Old Swan around a mile and a half from Dovecot on Sunday.
And Sam Rimmer, 22, was shot dead in Toxteth after two men on electric bikes opened fire in a cul-de-sac in Dingle last week.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said he was ‘sickened’ by Olivia’s murder.
He added: “Exactly 15 years to the day since Rhys Jones’ death, I’m in utter disbelief that another innocent child has lost their life to senseless gun crime in our region. My thoughts are with the young girl’s family and friends. RIP.”
Mayor Joanne Anderson has urged anyone with information to come forward. She said: “15 years to the day that Rhys Jones was murdered, another innocent child of our city becomes a victim to gun crime.
“Has nothing been learned? Enough is enough. This is an appalling act of evil. If you know something, you must come forward. Guns have no place in our communities.”
Local councillor Harry Doyle said: “There is absolutely no place for this kind of violence on our streets.”
Local MP Ian Byrne said the community was ‘angry and heartbroken’ and it would be a ‘slow process’ healing those wounds.
He said he hoped those involved would give themselves up. ‘You would hope there is some semblance of humanity in their souls.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined hundreds around the country reacting to the shocking news.
Sharing a tweet from Wavertree MP Paula Barker, Sir Keir, tweeted: “My thoughts are with the little girl’s family, devastating news, for them and their community.”
Anyone with any information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of 22nd August.