A teenage boy has appeared in court charged with the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Liverpool city centre.
Ava White had been in the city with friends on Thursday following a Christmas lights switch-on when she was stabbed, suffering “catastrophic injuries” just before 8.40pm on Thursday.
The 14-year-old boy appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, sitting as a youth court, on Monday charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
Three other boys, aged between 13 and 15, were also arrested and have been conditionally bailed as inquiries continue.
What happened to Ava White?
Ava, who has been described as “popular” and “bright”, was involved in a “verbal argument” which escalated into an “assault on her with a knife”, police said.
When police arrived at the scene, they found Ava, who was with friends, collapsed on the ground and receiving first aid from a member of the public.
Paramedics attended and she was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she died a short time later.
What happened during the court appearance?
The 14-year-old boy, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, sitting as a youth court, on Monday charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wore a grey tracksuit and sat in the dock with two security officers for the five-minute hearing.
Thomas Hanlon, prosecuting, asked for the case to be sent to Liverpool Crown Court and for the defendant to be remanded in youth detention accommodation until then.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd said: “Because this is a murder case it has to go to the crown court, that is the only place murder cases can be tried.
“I am formally sending it to the crown court for Wednesday morning.
“Between now and then you are going to be kept in secure accommodation.”
What have the police said?
On Saturday, Merseyside Police issued an image of a van which may have been occupied by key witnesses to the incident.
Detectives have urged people not to post names or comments on social media.
Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs, who is leading the investigation, said: “Please trust us that we are doing all we can to investigate and update people on this tragic incident, and we do not want anything to jeopardise this.”
Ms Coombs urged anyone who captured the incident or aftermath to send images or footage to the force online at: mipp.police.uk/operation/05MP21M43-PO1.
What else has been said?
Assistant mayor of Liverpool Sarah Doyle said: “I am heartbroken to hear that Ava White has died.
“My thoughts are with Ava’s family, friends and school.
“We will do all we can to support the city and those affected over the coming weeks.”
A spokesman for Ava’s school, Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton, said staff were working to support students.
Headteacher Peter Duffy said: “She was an incredibly popular girl with a fantastic group of friends.”
Rebecca Flynn, headteacher of Ava’s former school, Trinity RC Primary, said: “Our prayers and thoughts are with Ava’s family and her friends. We are left with lasting memories of a bright and respectful little girl.”
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