Nine-year-old shot dead in Merseyside named as 'ray of sunshine' Olivia Pratt-Korbel

23 August 2022, 05:20 | Updated: 23 August 2022, 23:04

Olivia was killed in a shooting in Liverpool
Olivia was killed in a shooting in Liverpool. Picture: Various

By Sophie Barnett

A nine-year-old girl killed in a tragic shooting in Liverpool has been named as Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

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Detectives launched a murder investigation in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, on Monday evening after the schoolgirl was killed in a third fatal shooting in Liverpool this week.

Chief Constable Serena Kennedy confirmed that Olivia's family were not connected to the shooter, revealing that it is believed a 35-year-old man was chased into the property by a man with a gun.

Two men were initially walking down Kingsheath Avenue when they were approached by a masked person dressed in black – potentially a male – who shot at them.

The pair responded by running away from the gunman while Olivia's mum, Cheryl, heard the shots and opened the door to see what was going on.

The 35-year-old saw the opening and forced his way into the family's home and the offender ran in after him "firing a number of shots with complete disregard for Olivia and her family", Merseyside Police said.

A shot was fired which was believed to have hit Cheryl, injuring her, and then fatally wounding Olivia. Police said Olivia was understood to have been directly behind Cheryl.

Rebecca Wilkinson, headteacher of St Margaret Mary's Catholic Junior School in Huyton, which Olivia attended, described her as "a little ray of sunshine."

Ms Wilkinson, speaking to Sky News, said Olivia was "bubbly and had a little heart of gold."

"Nothing was too much trouble for her. She liked to help the teachers. She was the life and soul of the class."

She added: "It's an incredibly difficult day. The school community are in shock at what's happened. We're absolutely devastated.

"The staff at the school are devastated and I can't imagine how the children are going to feel when they come back to school and she's no longer here.

"It's a community that's in shock. You don't expect this to happen to a nine-year-old. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family."

Footage shows house in Liverpool where 9-year-old girl was shot dead

Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to the youngster this evening.

He said: "My thoughts are with Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s family and the people of Liverpool following this horrific, senseless shooting.

"This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will ensure Merseyside Police get whatever they need to catch those responsible and secure justice for Olivia."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she sent her "heartfelt condolences to the family".

She added:"It is important that anyone with information comes forward to assist the police with their investigations. The force has my full support and will receive any additional resources they need."

Labour leader Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey also shared condolences on Twitter.

The nine-year-old was shot in the chest, her mum suffered a gunshot to her wrist, and the 35-year-old man suffered a number of gunshots to his upper body.

"Whilst Olivia lay dying, he was picked up by his friends who took him to hospital," Ch Con Kennedy added.

She said: "This is a shocking and appalling attack which will reverberate around our communities, and I want to take this opportunity again to appeal to anybody who knows who was responsible for this attack to please come forward and give us those names.

"We need to find all who are responsible for this. Not just the gunman, we need to find who supplied the weapon and who arranged this terrible incident.

"Forensic experts are at the scene at this moment in time, conducting house-to-house enquiries and officers are reviewing CCTV footage to establish and identify who is responsible."

It follows the tragic shooting of 28-year-old Ashley Dale, a council worker who was killed on Sunday just over a mile away in Old Swan.

Merseyside Police have not linked the two killings.

Officers investigating the child's murder said they were called to a house in Knotty Ash at 10pm on Monday night.

The child was taken to hospital in a critical condition, where she later died.

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A nine-year-old girl was fatally shot in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool on Monday night.
A nine-year-old girl was fatally shot in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool on Monday night. Picture: LBC

The headteacher of St Margaret Mary's Catholic Junior School Rebecca Wilkinson 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."

A man and woman, who were both also shot during the incident, were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries.

The man suffered gunshot wounds to his body and the woman suffered a gunshot injury to her hand.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said the latest tragedy to rock the city was a "truly shocking incident" in which the life of a young and innocent girl was taken.

Detectives are carrying out door-to-door enquiries, as well as probing CCTV.

No arrests have been made and police are appealing with the public for information to take the "cowardly individual" off the streets.

"Our thoughts and condolences go to her family and friends at this very difficult time. No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child in these dreadful circumstances," Ch Con Kennedy said.

Murder investigation begins after nine-year-old girl was fatally shot in Liverpool

"This crime is abhorrent and our communities must come forward and tell us who is responsible.

"This cowardly individual does not deserve to be walking the streets and I would urge those who know anything to speak to us and tell us what they know so that we can put the person responsible behind bars where they belong.

"We are carrying out a number of lines of enquiry as a matter of urgency and would ask for dashcam, CCTV or mobile phone footage from anyone who lives, works or was visiting the area of Kingsheath Avenue last night."

It comes after a spate of killings involving guns and knives on Merseyside.

An aerial view of the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot.
An aerial view of the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot. Picture: Alamy

The same night as the Knotty Ash shootings, two men were arrested over the fatal stabbing of a woman in her 50s in Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby.

In a separate incident, Ashley Dale, 28, was found shot dead in the back garden of a house in Old Swan, Liverpool, in the early hours of Sunday.

Police at the scene of the fatal shooting in Kingsheath Avenue.
Police at the scene of the fatal shooting in Kingsheath Avenue. Picture: Alamy

It is believed that Ms Dale was not the intended victim.

Ms Dale's family said she was the half-sister of Lewis Dunne who was shot dead aged 16 in 2015 in a case of mistaken identity, although her death is said to be unrelated to this.

No arrests have been made and a murder investigation is ongoing.

Ashley Dale, 28, was killed on Sunday in the Old Swan area of Liverpool.
Ashley Dale, 28, was killed on Sunday in the Old Swan area of Liverpool. Picture: Merseyside Police

Separately, Sam Rimmer, 22, was shot dead on Lavrock Bank in Dingle last Tuesday with detectives hunting four people on electric bikes seen leaving the scene moments after the shooting.

At this time there is no suggestion that there is any link between any of the killings.

Anyone with information about the killing of the nine-year-old girl is asked to DM @MerPolCC or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of 22nd August.