Liverpool shooting: 9-year-old girl shot dead and two injured in Dovecot home on attack - what happened?

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy named the victim as Olivia Pratt-Korbel and said her “family are absolutely devastated, inconsolable and heartbroken”.

A nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot and two other people are in hospital with injuries, after a gunman forced his way into a Liverpool home and opened fire.

Officers have launched a murder investigation after the shooting at a house in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, at 10pm on Monday, after reports an unknown male had fired a gun inside the property, Merseyside Police said.

The schoolgirl was shot in the chest and rushed to hospital in a critical condition, where she later died.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy named the victim as Olivia Pratt-Korbel and said her “family are absolutely devastated, inconsolable and heartbroken”.

A nationwide appeal has been launched for the UK's "criminal fraternity" to turn in the gunman who killed nine year old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

A man also suffered gunshot wounds to his body and Olivia’s mum Cheryl suffered a gunshot injury to her hand during the incident inside the house, the force added.

They have both been taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries.

The shocking shooting was on the 15th anniversary of the murder of Rhys Jones, an innocent football fan, who was gunned down in gang warfare in Croxteth.

A police cordon at the scene in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot. Credit: PA

What happened at the Dovecot shooting?

At around 10pm on Monday, two men were walking along Kingsheath Avenue from the direction of Finch Lane, Liverpool.

“At that time they were approached by a lone person – potentially a male – who was wearing a black padded jacket, a black balaclava with a peak, dark pants and black gloves,” Det Ch Supt Mark Kameen said.

“This individual was approximately 5ft 7ins tall and of slim build, and they were carrying a handgun.” This person shot at the two men, who immediately fled.

Hearing the gunshots, Olivia’s mum Cheryl opened the door to see what was going on outside. The 35-year-old man, who was injured in the shooting, noticed and ran towards the Olivia’s house.

“He has then forced his way into the property despite the very best efforts of Cheryl and has made his way inside,” Det Ch Supt Kameen said.

The shooter followed the man to the house, and “put their hand through the open door as Cheryl continued to try and close it”.

Det Ch Supt Kameen said: “A shot has been fired which we believe has hit Cheryl, injuring her and then fatally wounding Olivia. Olivia at that time, we believe, was stood directly behind Cheryl.”

The attacker managed to force his way inside, and fired two shots at the man he was chasing, before fleeing through the front door.

Chief Constable Kennedy continued: “The 35-year-old man who had been chased 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.

“On arrival, our officers could see just how poorly Olivia was and they rushed her to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where, despite the best efforts of medical staff, she sadly died.

“Her mum was taken to hospital by colleagues from the North West Ambulance Service.”

Forensic officers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot. Credit: PA

Do police have a suspect?

Merseyside Police have now arrested the 35-year-old man the gunman was trying to shoot, when he killed little Olivia.

He has allegedly breached his licence conditions with “poor behaviour” and had been detained in hospital. The force said he would be questioned about the murder.

A statement from the force said: “A 35-year-old man, suspected to have been the target of the shooting, has been detained in hospital on a prison recall after breaching the terms of his licence.

“He will be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of his licence. He will be further questioned in connection with the murder and remains in a stable condition.”

The force are not only tracing the gunman, but the people who supplied the weapon and are behind the attack, the Chief Constable 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,” she said.

“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.”

The force said house-to-house, CCTV and forensic inquiries are in the process of being carried out, while a cordon is also in place.

Forensic officers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot. Credit: PA

Det Ch Supt Kameen said they were also trying to trace the car which took the man who was shot to hospital, and the second man he was walking with before the shooting.

“I also want the second man that was in the street that was with the 35-year-old to hand himself into us or make himself known to us,” he told reporters.

“I also want to know the whereabouts leading up to this attack of the black Audi motor vehicle that was used to convey the 35-year-old man to hospital.

“It is absolutely critical … that this individual and everybody surrounding this crime is identified and swiftly brought to justice. They have no place in our communities.

“We have dealt with a number of previous firearms-related homicides over this past week and now we are faced with dealing with one of a nine-year-old child.”

Detectives have said there is sometimes a culture of “not grassing” to police in the city but have urged anyone with information to come forward as soon as possible.

“All the information that we do receive, as you can imagine, will be treated with absolute confidence – we will do everything to protect those people who do come forward with information,” the senior investigating officer added.

“If people feel that they can’t provide that then there is the option around Crimestoppers and the links are on our website, or the contact number is 0800 555 111.

Officers from Merseyside Police have begun a murder investigation after attending a house in Kingsheath Avenue at 10pm Monday following reports that an unknown male had fired a gun inside the property. Credit: PA

Who is Olivia Pratt-Korbel?

In a press conference at Merseyside Police’s headquarters in Rose Hill, Chief Constable Kennedy said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with Olivia’s family, who have been torn apart.

“No mum, no dad, no sister, or brother should ever have to experience loss in this way. Poignantly, Olivia was killed on the 15th anniversary of the murder of Rhys Jones – his murder should have been a watershed moment in the battle against gun crime and the use of guns on our streets.

“But shockingly there are still callous criminals who are prepared to use weapons on our streets and have utter disregard for the heartache and the pain that they have caused to Olivia’s family.

“Olivia’s family are the third family who’ve lost a loved one in the past week through gun crime, following the tragic murders of Sam Rimmer and Ashley Dale.

“Our thoughts very much remain with their families and the investigations continue into their murders.”

A police officer lays flowers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where a nine-year-old girl has been fatally shot. Credit: PA

The headteacher of St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School has paid tribute to murder victim Olivia, saying she had “a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour and a bubbly personality”.

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.”

Ashley Dale was shot to death in her garden in Old Swan, Liverpool, less than 48 hours before the shooting of the schoolgirl in Knotty Ash. Credit: Merseyside Police

Shooting of Ashley Dale in Old Swan, Liverpool

Her family said in a statement: “Ashley, our girl – our shining light. Our hearts are broken into a million pieces.

“Ashley was a hard working young woman, who had her entire life ahead of her.

Ashley Dale’s family said: “Ashley, our girl – our shining light. Our hearts are broken into a million pieces.”

“She had just been promoted at her job with Knowsley Council. She had a degree and so many plans for her bright future that had only just begun. Her laugh, smile and energy was infectious in any room.

“We can’t come to terms with how this would happen to a defenceless woman in her own home.

“None of this makes sense and our lives will never be the same again. A senseless crime that has torn a family apart. Justice needs to be brought.”

Ms Dale’s younger brother, Lewis Dunne, 16, was also shot dead in Liverpool in 2015 by a gang who mistook his identity - although the deaths are not believed to be connected.

A map of the recent fatal shootings and stabbings in Liverpool. Credit: Mark Hall

What are police doing about the spate of shootings and stabbings in Liverpool?

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

And police are still searching for two people who fled on electric bikes following the fatal shooting of a man in his early 20s in inner-city Toxteth late on August 16.

On the same day as the schoolgirl’s death, the city marked the 15th anniversary of the killing of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, who was mistakenly shot by a gang member in Croxteth on August 22, 2007.

Just last month, a teenage boy was jailed for the murder of 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre following a row over a Snapchat video last November.

After the shooting of Ms Dale, Det Ch Supt Mark Kameen said “gun crime has no place on the streets of Merseyside”.

“This clearly was a very shocking incident which has led to the death of a young woman,” he explained.

“I understand how frightening incidents like this can seem to ordinary members of the public and in the coming hours and days we will be speaking to people living in the local and wider community to reassure them of the ongoing work we are doing to find the person or people responsible.

“Gun crime has no place on the streets of Merseyside and we will leave no stone unturned to bring those responsible for justice.

“An investigation is underway and a number of lines of enquiry are currently being investigated.

Merseyside Police have asked anyone with information on the Knotty Ash shootings to direct message @MerPolCC or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of August 22.