Neighbours say gun attack on nine-year-old was gangland reprisal

Revealed – the tit-for-tat shooting spree by ‘feral’ gangsters that lead to innocent Olivia’s death: Neighbours say gun attack on nine-year-old was reprisal for drive-by targeting e-scooter rider three weeks ago – and the intended victim is known criminal

  • Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead in her home in Liverpool as gunman chased his intended victim inside 
  • While Olivia’s mother, Cheryl, desperately tried to keep him out, shooter opened fire through the front door 
  • Bullet hit Cheryl on hand and Olivia – who was standing directly behind her mother – was struck in the chest
  • The callous killer then burst inside and fired two more shots at the man he was chasing, leaving him injured
  • Gunman fled while his intended victim was picked up by friends who took him to hospital – ignoring Olivia 
  • ***Do you have any information about the incident? Email [email protected]***

Undated photo of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was shot dead at her home in Liverpool on Monday night

Little Olivia Pratt-Korbel was likely the tragic victim of a vicious ‘tit-for-tat’ war among ‘feral’ gangsters in Liverpool which has gone on for weeks when she was killed by a balaclava-clad gunman who stormed into her house while chasing a suspected rival, her horrified neighbours claimed.

The beloved nine-year-old was senselessly and callous murdered by a masked maniac after a 35-year-old man – who was completely unknown to her family but known by police as a criminal – broke into her terraced house in Kingsheath Avenue, in the Dovecot area of Liverpool on Monday night, in a bid to get away from a shooter, police said.

Her mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door on the gunman while Olivia – who was stood behind her – was shot in the chest.

And in a sickening twist to yet another appalling killing that has repulsed the nation, Merseyside Police revealed that the intended victim’s friends picked him up in an Audi and took him to hospital – leaving the child to die in her mother’s arms.

Neighbours have now suggested that the attack may have been connected to a shooting at a children’s playground just yards from Olivia’s home on August 8 – just two weeks ago – where gunmen riding a dark-coloured car shot at a man on an electric bike. Nobody has been arrested for the incident.

One local said: ‘They were just innocent people – that’s what makes it 10 times worse. They were quiet, respectable people. Knowing someone has been shot just because she opened the door. It’s not right. It was the same people involved in the shooting a few weeks ago in Akers Hall park. We know it was. It is two rival gangs chasing after each other.’

A woman in her 50s told The Telegraph: ‘It was the same people involved in the shooting the other week, the same car involved. It is just tit for tat. Pointless.’

Olivia’s death is the third fatal shooting in Liverpool in less than a week, and it comes after a council worker was killed 48 hours ago. Chillingly, Olivia was killed 15 years to the day after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead in Croxteth. 

Tributes have now flooded in for Olivia, who attended St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School. A card with messages written in children’s handwriting was left with a bunch of flowers at the scene of the killing. One message read: ‘I will miss you.’ 

Another said: ‘To Olivia, I’m sorry you’re gone.’ A pink star-shaped balloon was also left at the police cordon with ‘Olivia. RIP. We love you’ written on.

Speaking at a press conference, Chief Constable Serena Kennedy appealed to ‘members of the criminal fraternity’ to ‘examine their consciences’ and identify Olivia’s killer.

She said: ‘They will have vital information that can help us. The killing of a nine-year-old child is an absolute tragedy and crosses every single boundary, and I would urge them to do the right thing so we can put this person behind bars.’

Ms Kennedy also warned against a ‘no-grass’ culture taking hold in the community, pledging to protect those who spoke to the police.

‘If people are frightened to come forward, we can have those conversations in confidence,’ she said. ‘Please come forward and let us work with you, so that you can feel confident to give us that information and not feel frightened around the reprisals.’

As Britain reacts with revulsion to the ‘senseless’ killing:

  • Conservative frontrunner Liz Truss expressed her condolences to Olivia’s family and said she would introduce police force league tables if she became PM;
  • She told the Tory leadership hustings hosted by Times Radio: ‘There is a serious problem in this country with gun crime, there’s a serious problem with gangs, there’s a serious problem with knife crime, and I’m absolutely determined we get a grip on that’;
  • Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he called his family to speak with his daughter when he first heard about the shooting;
  • Mr Sunak added that the Government needed to ‘finish putting 20,000 more’ police officers on the streets to fight crime;
  • Locals left flowers at the scene of the death, while Olivia’s headteacher paid tribute to the nine-year-old girl – calling her a ‘much loved member of our school’ with ‘a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour, and a bubbly personality’.

Police revealed Olivia Pratt-Korbel (left, with her mother, Cheryl, right) was the random victim of a gun battle that saw the shooter barge his way into her family home and open fire with ‘complete disregard’ for anyone inside 

Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was killed in a horrific shooting in her home in Liverpool  

Children are seen sitting in the road on Kingsheath Avenue in front of forensics officers today

Children leave flowers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool

Her death is the third fatal shooting in Liverpool in less than a week, and it comes 48 hours after a council worker was killed

Olivia’s headteacher 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.’

Do you have any information about the incident?

Email [email protected] 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the ‘horrific, senseless shooting’, calling it an ‘unimaginable tragedy’, and promising Merseyside Police ‘whatever they need to catch those responsible and secure justice for Olivia’. Home Secretary Priti Patel said Merseyside Police has her ‘full support’. 

Speaking at a press conference at the force’s headquarters in Liverpool today, Chief Constable Serena Kennedy appealed for anyone with information to come forward, adding: ‘This is not the time for anyone who knows who’s responsible for this shooting to remain tight-lipped.’ 

Ms Kennedy added: ‘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.

‘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 inquiries, and officers are reviewing CCTV footage to establish and identify who is responsible.’

She also appealed to the ‘criminal fraternity’ in Liverpool for information, adding that the incident ‘crosses every single boundary’. 

Forensic officers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where police enquiries are continuing 

Olivia was shot in the chest in a house in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, just before 10pm on Monday night. Pictured: The scene yesterday cordoned off by police who have also closed the road 

An aerial view of the scene on Kingsheath Avenue, showing a cordon around a house which has also taped off the road

DCS Mark Kameen and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy from Merseyside Police speak to the media at force headquarters in Rose Hill

‘Once again a dark cloud is over this city and something has got to change’: Foundation for murdered Rhys Jones’ outrage at killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel

An organisation set up in the memory of murdered schoolboy Rhys Jones has shared its ‘devastation’ at the news of the killing of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

The Rhys Jones Foundation and community centre was established in Croxteth in the wake of the murder of 11-year-old Rhys, who was shot dead when walking home from football training in 2007. 

Responding to news of the senseless killing of nine-year-old Olivia on the 15th anniversary of Rhys’ death, the foundation said: ‘The Rhys Jones Foundation are devastated to hear the news that last night a nine-year-old girl sadly lost her life due to gun crime. 15 years to the day that we lost Rhys.

‘This past week has once again put a dark cloud over this city and something has got to change. 

‘Our thoughts are with the family of the young girl who was taken last night, as well as the families affected by the tragedies across the city this past week.’

She added: ‘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.’

Ashley Dale, who was shot dead on Sunday, was also not the intended target but a victim of ‘mistaken identity’, police believe. Shockingly, her 16-year-old brother, Lewis, was himself shot dead seven years before by a gang who mistook him for a rival.

Police have not linked the siblings’ killings, nor do they believe Ms Dale’s death is linked to Olivia’s.

The killings have prompted outrage in Liverpool, with local MP Paula Barker condemning the ‘mindless violence’ that had left residents ‘absolutely horrified’.  

Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne has said there is ‘lots of anger out there’ following the shooting of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

The Labour MP told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘It’s been exceedingly difficult listening to obviously the news this morning and then getting more details this afternoon of the horrific incidents around Olivia’s death.

‘It’s been difficult to process for the whole community.

‘There’s lots and lots of anger out there at the moment. There’s lots of outrage, disbelief that this could happen in our community.’

He went on: ‘At the moment, it’s very raw. People are processing what’s happening, getting more information, as you said by the hour, but there’s a lot of fear and a lot of anger out there at the moment.’ 

Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson, addressing the murdered girl’s family, said: ‘This is absolutely devastating. The pain you must feel right now is unimaginable. This is a tragedy that will shake our communities.’ 

In a separate incident last night, a woman in her 50s – named locally as Karen Dempsey, was stabbed to death in a pub car park in Kirkby, Merseyside after reportedly trying to break up a fight. Two men have been arrested.

In addition, 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. 

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.

Ashley Dale, 28, was gunned down in her home in Old Swan, Liverpool on Sunday. Police do not believe the two murders are linked 

Police forensic officers at the scene of shooting of Ms Dale in Liverpool in Leinster Road, the Old Swan area of the city 

Merseyside Police were also called to Brambles pub on Cherryfield Drive at around 8.10pm where they found a woman with a stab wound. She was taken to hospital in a serious condition but died

Grandmother is stabbed to death in a pub car park while ‘trying to break up a fight’  

A woman who was stabbed to death as she tried to ‘break up a fight’ between two men behind a pub has been named locally as Karen Dempsey. 

Officers were called to Brambles pub on Cherryfield Drive, in Kirkby, near Liverpool, at around 8.10pm last night following reports of an altercation.

Knife murder victim Karen Dempsey, who died last night 

A woman in her 50s was found in the car park of the venue with a stab wound to her chest consistent with a weapon being used, Merseyside Police said.

The woman has now been named locally as grandmother Karen Dempsey. 

A local man told the Liverpool Echo that Karen died after she tried to break up a fight between two men in a service road behind the Brambles pub. 

Ms Dale was the first woman to be murdered with a gun in Liverpool since 22-year-old mother Lucy Hargreaves was shot dead on her sofa by three masked men as her children, aged nine months, two, and five, slept upstairs. Her murderer has never been brought to justice.

There were 211 firearms offences on Merseyside from April 2021 to March 2022 compared to 140 the year before – a rise of 51 per cent. 

However, the figures have been distorted by a drop in Covid, with the 227 firearms offences in 2019 to 2020 comparable to this year’s figure. Longer term . In July, police said the number of reports of weapons being discharged was at a 20-year low.

Today’s neighbours of Olivia’s family spoke of their disgust at her killing. 

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It’s really disgusting, and it will not be tolerated around here. I believe because a child was involved people will name the culprit and he deserves to be named because he is a coward.’

Another local described hearing four gunshots, while a woman, who asked not to be named, said the tragedy made her worry for her own children.

‘It’s devastating. It can’t carry on like this,’ she said. ‘I have four boys and for this to happen on our own doorstep is shocking. 

‘The streets here are always full of kids playing.’

Helen Alohan, 49, described Kingsheath Avenue as a close-knit community where local children played together on the street. 

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

Ashley Dale was gunned down outside the property in Old Swan shortly after midnight on Sunday. 

No arrests have so far been made.

Gunman are thought to have burst through the door of her £70,000 three-bedroom terraced home, where she ‘lived largely on her own’, and sprayed bullets inside.

Police were called by neighbours reporting the sound of what they thought were gunshots or fireworks, and officers found Miss Dale fatally injured in the back garden.

Merseyside Police believe the property was purposefully targeted, but Miss Dale was not the intended victim. She was treated at the scene but died later in hospital.

A car was found with flat tyres outside, with police saying it was used by her and registered to her family. 

The vehicle has now been removed to be examined. 

In a statement, Miss Dale’s family said yesterday: ‘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.

‘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.’

A police officer on Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, where Olivia died

Several police cars are pictured on Kingsheath Avenue as officers continue to hunt the gunman responsible for Olivia’s death 

A man was also shot in the body while a woman also suffered gunshot wounds to the hand. Both are in hospital being treated for their injuries. Pictured: Police patrolling the scene 

Her own brother Lewis Dunne was shot dead in 2015 aged just 16 by a gang who mistook him for a rival. Police described him as ‘wholly innocent’ and said he had simply been ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’.

Tributes were paid to Miss Dale yesterday, including from her former colleague Carol Tunstall who wrote on social media: ‘So very sad. Ashley worked with us a good few years back. Such a beautiful, lovely young girl.’

Ava White (pictured) was stabbed in the neck at the junction of School Lane and Church Alley in Liverpool city centre on November 25 last year

Her alma mater, Liverpool John Moores University, also fondly remembered the 28-year-old when she was a ‘popular student’ who was hoping for a career in local government. 

Graeme Mitchell, senior lecturer in public health at Liverpool John Moores University, told MailOnline: ‘We remember Ashley as a keen and popular student who was looking forward to a career in public service.

‘She has recently obtained her registration as an environmental health practitioner and had secured a promotion within Knowsley Council.

‘She obtained her degree, despite the personal tragedy of having her brother killed. We’re all in shock at the moment.’

Meanwhile, Merseyside Police were called to Brambles pub on Cherryfield Drive at around 8.10pm where they found a woman with a stab wound. She was taken to hospital in a serious condition but died.

In the same incident, a man in his 30s is also being treated in hospital after being stabbed in his arm and body.

Officers have detained a 38-year-old man on suspicion of s18 and affray while a 32-year-old man later handed himself in and was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Detective Inspector Laura Lamping said: ‘We are currently in the very early stages of an investigation as we seek to establish what has taken place.

‘We believe there was an altercation which started inside the premises and carried on outside. Sadly, a woman suffered a stab wound which proved to be fatal.

‘We currently have two people in custody but out enquiries remain ongoing. I would ask anyone who was in the vicinity of Cherryfield Drive who saw or heard anything or has any information which could assist the investigation to contact us as a matter of urgency.’   

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.  

She died hiding behind Mummy: The sickening violence that left Olivia, 9, blasted to death at foot of her stairs

By SAM GREENHILL, ANDY DOLAN and LIZ HULL for the DAILY MAIL

It was past bedtime and nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel should have been drifting into a comfortable sleep in the safety of her family home.

Instead, in a horrific set of freak circumstances, her mother opened the front door to investigate a commotion outside and within seconds a gun-toting gangster had shot Olivia and left her dying at the foot of the stairs.

Yesterday her entirely innocent family remained beyond shock at the extraordinary sequence of events that robbed them of a kind-hearted, joyful and popular little girl who was about to start Year 5 at primary school.

Until 10pm on Monday, the day had been completely normal for Cheryl Korbel, 46, and her three children at their terraced house on Kingsheath Avenue, Liverpool. 

But outside, around 100 yards along the road near the corner of Finch Lane, a nasty gangland confrontation suddenly flared up.

It had nothing to do with the Korbel family, but within seconds there was horror and bloodshed inside their well-kept home.

Undated photo of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was shot dead at her home in Liverpool on Monday night

Police revealed Olivia Pratt-Korbel (left, with her mother, Cheryl, right) was the random victim of a gun battle that saw the shooter barge his way into her family home and open fire with ‘complete disregard’ for anyone inside 

Two men were walking along Kingsheath Avenue from Finch Lane when they were ambushed by a gunman clad in a black balaclava, a black padded jacket, black trousers and black gloves.

CCTV obtained by police show the two men fleeing for their lives as the slim-built gangster began blasting his handgun at them.

Hearing the volley of gunshots, Olivia’s concerned mother went to the front door of their £100,000 house – and opened it to investigate all the noise.

Tragically one of the desperate men being chased apparently saw this as a chance for refuge from the hail of bullets.

In a split second, the 35-year-old man, who police have not named, darted across the Korbels’ paved front driveway and hurled himself at the white front door.

To the horror of Miss Korbel, who police say did her ‘very, very best’ to block him, the pursued man forced his way into their home to what he must have hoped would be an escape from the gunman a few footsteps behind.

A moment later, Miss Korbel again tried to slam the door as the hitman crashed into it. In this frantic struggle, the gunman managed to get a hand through the still-ajar door – just as Olivia arrived in the hallway.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said: ‘A shot has been fired, which we believe has hit Cheryl, injuring her, and then fatally wounding Olivia.’

The schoolgirl had been standing directly behind her mother at the foot of the stairs.

The detective continued: ‘Despite that horrific circumstance, the attacker has continued the assault and continued to try to gain entry to the property, and in doing so has fired two further shots at the 35-year-old man who at this point is inside Cheryl and Olivia’s home address. The attacker has then left the front door and has made off on foot.’

Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was killed in a horrific shooting in her home in Liverpool on Monday night 

Her death is the third fatal shooting in Liverpool in less than a week, and it comes 48 hours after a council worker was killed

The hallway was a scene of carnage. Olivia lay crumpled on the floor with a gunshot wound to her chest. Her shell-shocked mother was bleeding from her own injury.

And the unknown man who had brought this hell by choosing their house to seek refuge was on the floor with two bullet holes in his upper body.

What happened next is almost as sickening as the assault. Friends of the 35-year-old arrived to help him – but ignored dying Olivia and her mother. A dark-coloured Audi car screeched to a halt and the injured man staggered outside. He was whisked to hospital by his associates, with none of them apparently sparing a thought for the little girl bleeding to death.

Olivia’s two elder siblings were in the house at the time, along with two neighbours who had popped in for a cup of tea, and police and paramedics were summoned. Describing the horror yesterday, Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: ‘The man being chased forced his way into Olivia’s house and the offender ran in after him firing a number of shots with complete disregard for Olivia and her family who had no connection with the gunman or the man who forced his way in.

‘When Olivia lay dying, he was picked up by his friends and taken 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 mother was taken to Aintree Hospital by the North West Ambulance Service where she was treated for her arm wound. Police said they had seized the Audi car and are waiting to interview the 35-year-old man, who spent much of yesterday having surgery. They would not reveal his name.

Sources said investigators were still trying to ascertain the identity of the other man he was with when the shooting started.

No motive for the attack has been identified, with detectives examining the possibilities of a clash between rival drugs and firearms gangs, or a retaliation link to recent murders.

One officer said they had not ruled out the theory of a postcode turf war, in which a gang member may have strayed into the ‘wrong’ part of town.

To Olivia’s heartbroken family and friends, no motive will ever explain the painful and pointless waste of her young life.

Miss Korbel’s two sisters and two brothers, who live in the area with their mother, were rallying round yesterday.

Children are seen sitting in the road on Kingsheath Avenue in front of forensics officers today

Children leave flowers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool

Her daughter was summed up in a poignant tribute by her headteacher last night.

Rebecca Wilkinson, of St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, 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.’

A neighbour said last night: ‘You could just hear the mum screaming. It was horrible.’

Another local, Helen Alohan, 49, described Kingsheath Avenue as a close-knit community where children played together in the street.

Tragic death toll of Liverpool’s gun crime: How firearm-wielding gangsters have spilt blood on streets of Merseyside as girl, nine, is shot dead 15 years to the day after Rhys Jones, 11, was killed

By Harry Howard for MailOnline 

Last night’s murder of a nine-year-old girl in Liverpool came 15 years to the day since 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead in the city while walking home from football.

The death of the little boy, a devoted fan of Everton football club, triggered national uproar – but gun crime in Liverpool is still sadly all too familiar. 

There were 211 firearms offences on Merseyside from April 2021 to March 2022 compared to 140 the year before – a rise of 51 per cent. 

However, the figures have been distorted by a drop in Covid, with the 227 firearms offences in 2019 to 2020 comparable to this year’s figure.

The latest gun killing in the Old Swan area of Liverpool was the third in the space of a week. 

On Sunday, 28-year-old woman Ashley Dale was shot dead in the same area, whilst 22-year-old ‘amazing young man’ Sam Rimmer died from gunshot wounds on August 16 in Dingle.

Ms Dale was the sister of 16-year-old Lewis Dunne, who was gunned down on a canal towpath in 2016.

Two years before Rhys’s death, mother-of-three Lucy Hargreaves was shot dead by three masked men while sitting on her sofa in her home – as her children aged nine months, five and two slept upstairs. 

And in 2004, 16-year-old Liam Kelly was gunned down in the street over an unpaid £200 debt, and his killer remains at large. 

Besides the latest killings, there have been a spate of shootings in recent weeks and months in Liverpool, with a man shot in the leg outside a pub on July 31 and bullets shattering a window opposite a children’s play park on June 8.  

Experts have previously told how, since Rhys’s killing, gangs in Liverpool have become less sophisticated but more reckless, meaning violence can break out over seemingly meaningless rows.  

Residents of an estate in the Wavertree area – where there were three shootings in three days earlier this year – describing how it is ‘normal’ to hear gun shots as criminals fight over drug-selling territory.

The Woodchurch estate in Wirral has also been hit by gun crime. On March 22, a gunman opened fire on a man while children were playing nearby, leaving him critically injured. 

Another incident in the same area in June saw a gang of masked men carrying weapons burst into a pub. 

Other shootings have erupted in the Croxteth area, with one on July 10 involving a gunman on an electric bike who shot a man multiple times in the leg. 

Despite the crimes, the number of actual shootings on Merseyside is on the decline. According to Merseyside Police, there were 43 shootings last year, compared to 125 in 2012. The figures represent a 43 per cent fall. 

And the latest fatal shootings were the first in more than a year, after 26-year-old Patrick Boyle was shot dead last July. 

Today, Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy named the girl murdered last night as Olivia Pratt-Korbel and said her ‘family are absolutely devastated, inconsolable and heartbroken’.

There were 211 firearms offences on Merseyside from April 2021 to March 2022 compared to 140 the year before – a rise of 51 per cent

Rhys Jones, killed aged 11 in 2007 

The 11-year-old was shot dead in 2007 while walking home from football practice in Croxteth. 

The child was caught in the crossfire between two warring gangs – the Strand Gang and the Croxteth Crew. 

Sean Mercer – who was 16 at the time of the shooting – was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 22 years. 

The bullet fired from the Smith and Wesson gun that was used had been intended for Mercer’s rival Wayne Brady.


Rhys Jones, aged just 11, was shot dead in 2007 while walking home from football practice in Croxteth. The child was caught in the crossfire between two warring gangs – the Strand Gang and the Croxteth Crew. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of his death

Mercer’s accomplices were also sent to prison. Jason Yates was jailed for seven years aged 20 for supplying the Smith and Wesson pistol. 

Sean Mercer – who was 16 at the time of the shooting – was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 22 years

He also helped Mercer to cover his tracks by washing him in petrol in the hope of destroying evidence.

In 2009, Yates was jailed for a further five years after his sentence was judged to have been unduly lenient. 

Nathan Quinn, then 18, was jailed for two years for helping Mercer to get rid of the murder weapon and his clothes. 

The other accomplices, Melvin Coy and Gary Kays, were sentenced to seven years each, whilst Dean Kelly was jailed for four years. 

When the gang were sentenced, Mr Justice Irwin branded them ‘selfish, shallow criminals, remarkable only by the danger you pose to others.’

Speaking last year, Rhys’s father Steve recounted the moment he heard the news that was told by Rhys’s mother Melanie that he had been shot:  

‘I was on the M57 heading up towards Southport when Mel phoned saying that Rhys had been shot and I needed to go home,’ he said. 

‘She sounded distraught, absolutely in tears, you could hear in her voice.’ With Mel now at the scene, Rhys was rushed to hospital.’

He added: ‘Your mind just doesn’t want to take it in, doesn’t want to accept it.’  


The Daily Mail covered the death of Rhys Jones extensively and featured the heartbreaking words of his mother and father Steve and Melanie

Ashley Dale, shot dead aged 28 on Sunday

Ashley Dale was a graduate of Liverpool John Moores University and worked for Knowsley Council. The 28-year-old, described as a ‘lovely, hardworking’ young woman with an ‘infectious’ smile, was shot dead in her home in Old Swan on Sunday

Ashley Dale was a graduate of Liverpool John Moores University and worked for Knowsley Council. 

The 28-year-old, described as a ‘lovely, hardworking’ young woman with an ‘infectious’ smile, was shot dead in her home in Old Swan on Sunday. 

Thugs are thought to have burst through the door of her £70,000 three-bedroom terraced home, where she ‘lived largely on her own’, and sprayed bullets inside. 

Police were called by neighbours reporting the sound of what they thought were gunshots or fireworks, and officers found graduate Miss Dale in the back garden.

Merseyside Police believe the property was purposefully targeted, but Miss Dale was not the intended victim. She was treated at the scene but died later in hospital.

A car was found with flat tyres outside, with police saying it was used by Miss Dale and registered to her family. The vehicle has now been removed to be examined.

Ms Dale’s death came seven years after her own brother Lewis Dunne was shot dead aged 16 by a gang who mistook him for a rival, although her death is said to be unrelated to this. 

Lewis Dunne, shot dead aged 16 in 2015

Ms Dale’s brother, Lewis Dunne, was gunned down on a canal towpath in 2015 aged just 16. 

The ‘kind, gentle’ boy was ‘wholly innocent’ had simply been ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ police said. Police have not linked the siblings’ killings. 

Lewis Dunne was on his way to a shop when he walked into the path of four men lying in wait with a loaded weapon and with ‘murderous intent’, Liverpool Crown Court was told. 

On the day of his death, Sunday November 15, Lewis had arranged to meet a friend on the canal towpath to borrow his bicycle. 

In 2016, Jake Culshaw, then 26, and brothers John and Paul Martin, then aged 20 and 26 respectively, were jailed for life. 

Ms Dale’s brother, Lewis Dunne (pictured with his sister), was gunned down on a canal towpath in 2015 aged just 16. The ‘kind, gentle’ boy was ‘wholly innocent’ had simply been ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ police said. Police have not linked the siblings’ killings

Lewis’s mother Gemma Whitfield said after the men were convicted: ‘Lewis was my baby. I was 20 years old when he came into my life and young myself but already older than he would get to be. From the moment I held him in my arms I felt love.

‘I could talk for hours about about Lewis. A smile that would light up a room, a hug that would lessen the worries of the world and a gift for making everyone feel important. You could not be sad in his presence.

‘There is nothing he would not have done for anybody. Wherever he went he got along with people.

‘Lewis was a gentle, peace-loving boy, vibrant and oh so alive, but now he is dead.’

Sam Rimmer, shot dead aged 22 on August 16

Sam Rimmer was shot dead last Tuesday, before two men fled the scene on electric bikes. 

Sam Rimmer was shot dead last Tuesday, before two men fled the scene on electric bikes

The 22-year-old was given CPR until paramedics arrived and he was taken to hospital, where he died. 

Two men in dark clothing were seen leaving the scene. Merseyside Police said a ‘number of shots’ were fired. 

Mr Rimmer’s death was the first murder involving a firearm in Merseyside in more than a year, after Patrick Boyle was killed last July. 

Mr Rimmer was described in tributes as ‘an amazing young man’, with his killing branded ‘senseless.’

A series of five loud bangs were reportedly heard when Mr Rimmer was shot. 

It is not clear if Mr Rimmer was the intended target of the shooting.  

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said it was ‘a despicable attack’ and the victim’s family were ‘desperately trying to come to terms with their loss’.

‘We need to find those responsible, and I would ask members of the public who may have information which could help us bring those people to justice to put themselves in the shoes of Sam’s family and think about what they are going through and the pain this has caused them,’ he said.

‘If you live in the area, or were passing through at about 11.40pm on Tuesday, you may have seen something that could be vital for us and I would urge you to get in touch.’

Patrick Boyle, 26 – July 2021

Patrick Boyle was shot twice in the chest in the Newway area of Liverpool on July 1st last year after a row with killers Rueben Murphy and Ben Doyle. 

On the day of the murder Murphy was involved in an altercation with another man, Scott Brown, who he claimed owed him money for cannabis and was a friend of the victim. 

Mr Boyle was also there, and it appears to have escalated quickly with the thug plotting to kill the victim the same day.

Patrick Boyle (pictured) was shot twice in the chest in the Newway area of Liverpool on July 1st last year after a row with killers Rueben Murphy and Ben Doyle 

After picking up the weapon and ammunition, he was picked up by Doyle and driven on an electric bike disguised with black bin bags wrapped around it, to a house in Newway, Huyton, shortly before 6pm, where he opened fire. 

Mr Boyle, who had a three-year-old son and was expecting another with his pregnant partner, Ashleigh Dean, died within an hour due to his injuries – Ms Dean was not able to reach the hospital before he died.

Murphy had denied any role in the shooting, claiming he was doing drugs in another part of Huyton at the time. 

But police found a treasure trove of evidence, including clothing containing gunshot residue and his DNA in his home, while CCTV also showed he was in the area at the time.

A jury convicted him and Doyle of murder. The pair were jailed for life, with a minimum term of 27 years. 

When Murphy was sentenced in July, he branded the judge at Liverpool Crown Court a ‘fat paedophile’ and also shouted ‘f**k the system’.


Rueben Murphy (pictured left), from Huyton, screamed and shouted as he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 31 years for murder. Ben Doyle (right) was also jailed for life and given a minimum term of 27 years for his role in the murder

Lucy Hargreaves, shot dead on her sofa aged 22 in 2005 

The 22-year-old mother-of-three was shot dead on her sofa in the Walton area of Liverpool in 2005 by three masked men as her children, aged nine months, two, and five, slept upstairs. 

Mother-of-three Lucy Hargreaves was shot dead on her sofa in 2005

The gang then set her on fire. No one has ever been brought to justice for one of Liverpool’s most notorious unsolved murders. 

On the night of her murder the duvet cover Lucy was sleeping under was covered in petrol and set alight.

Fuel was also poured around the entrance and stairs of the property to block any escape for those upstairs.

Gary Campbell, Lucy’s boyfriend, who may have been the intended target, was sleeping upstairs with the couple’s youngest daughter Faye.

He escaped the blaze by jumping with his daughter from an upstairs window, before running inside to pull Lucy out.

Tragically, his girlfriend had died from the gunshot wounds.

Despite his heroic actions on the night, Mr Campbell is believed to have been the target because of his past.

Mr Campbell had allegedly been a passenger in a stolen car that hit and killed a four-year-old boy in 1993.

The child who had died was the brother of one of the defendants in the original case.

Tony Downes, stood trial at Liverpool Crown Court, but the case against him and Kirk Bradley, 21, both of Huyton, was dropped.

Police continue to hunt suspect Kevin Parle over Lucy’s death, as well as that of 16-year-old Liam Kelly, who was shot dead in 2004. 

Liam Kelly, shot dead aged 16 over £200 debt – 2005

Liam Kelly is believed to have been shot dead due to an unpaid debt of just £200. Anthony Campbell, who was owed the money, pleaded guilty to arranging the teenager’s murder and was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of more than two decades

Liam Kelly is believed to have been shot dead due to an unpaid debt of just £200.

He was shot twice at close range by a masked man carrying a double-barrelled shotgun. 

He staggered to a neighbour’s house but then collapsed and died shortly afterwards.  

Anthony Campbell, who was owed the money, pleaded guilty to arranging the teenager’s murder and was handed a life sentence with a minimum term of more than two decades. 

However, no one has been convicted of Kelly’s murder. 

The police’s prime suspect is Kevin Parle, who has been wanted by officers for the past 16 years. He is also wanted over the killing of Lucy Hargreaves. 

Parle was arrested in connection with Kelly’s killing but then failed to answer his bail and absconded from the UK.   

In a statement, last year, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Baker, of Merseyside Police, said: ‘Despite time passing, we are continuing to investigate Liam’s murder.

‘His family have suffered greatly knowing that Kevin Parle could be out there somewhere and hasn’t been put before the courts.

‘Kevin has denied a teenager reaching major milestones in his life – including family celebrations, birthdays, careers and relationships – something so many of us take for granted.

‘When Liam was murdered, his mother Mary made a heartfelt plea directly to his friends and associates where she begged them to tell the police anything that might help us bring his killers to justice.  

Merseyside’s bloody year: At least 14 people killed in the first eight months of the year following a spate of violence  

At least 14 people have been killed in Merseyside just eight months into the year, police data suggests, as the county reels from the fatal shooting of a nine-year-old girl.

The spate of violence across the region in 2022 has included the shooting of a 15-year-old girl on her way home from school and the stabbing of a 14-year-old boy in Liverpool city centre.

Merseyside Police have issued press releases concerning 14 suspected killings, 11 non-fatal stabbings and 13 non-fatal shootings since the start of 2022.

By comparison, there were 17 homicides recorded by the force across the whole of 2021/22, according to the latest Home Office figures.

Violent crime across the region has been increasing consistently in recent years, according to the Home Office data.

There were 68,720 cases of violence against the person recorded in 2021/22, a figure that has been climbing year on year, up from 45,848 recorded in 2018/19.

Here is a list of the suspected killings, non-fatal stabbings and non-fatal shootings announced by Merseyside Police since the start of 2022:

Suspected killings – 

22 August – Olivia Pratt-Korbel, nine, is shot dead in Knotty Ash.

22 August – Two men are arrested over the fatal stabbing of a woman in her 50s in Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby.

21 August – 28-year-old Knowsley Council worker Ashley Dale died after being shot in the Old Swan area of Liverpool in the early hours of Sunday.

19 August – Sam Rimmer, 19, is shot dead in Lavrock Bank.

27 July – Leroy Venner is killed in Anfield, suffering head injuries and sparking a murder probe.

12 July – Christopher Molly, 55, is killed in Stanley Road, Bootle.

15 May – Derek Burns, 49, is stabbed to death in Tuebrook.

12 May – Karen Wheeler, 62, dies after police attended a flat in Vittoria Court, on Vittoria Close, at around 7.15pm, in response to a report of concern for her welfare. A man has been charged with her murder.

11 May – 43-year-old Lorraine Cullen’s body is found in a property on Radway Road at around 8.30am after she was stabbed to death. A 21-year-old man arrested on suspicion of her murder is questioned by police and detained under the Mental Health Act.

16 April – Michael Toohey is killed following an attack in an internet cafe in Liverpool.

10 April – 36-year-old Gary Morgan, found stabbed at a house in Lavan Close, Everton, dies of his injuries.

27 March – Five people are arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a man was found in Pensby earlier in the day.

14 March – Dylan Bacon, 39, is stabbed to death in Old Swan.

24 January – A murder probe is launched following the death of a man in his 60s found with serious injuries at a property in Heswall at around 8.45pm on 14 January.

– Non-fatal stabbings

6 August- 19-year-old man is charged with GBH with intent and possession of a bladed article after a stabbing at a pub in Thatto Heath area.

29 June- Police launch an investigation after a 19-year-old man was stabbed in the leg after a confrontation with a group of men in Wavertree.

17 June – Two men are stabbed in an altercation outside a wine bar in Queens Square, police say.

25 May – A 14-year-old boy is stabbed in Campbell Square, Liverpool city centre.

15 May – Officers were called at just before 7.35am to Jubits Lane in St Helens following reports a 23-year-old man had suffered puncture wounds to the leg

8 March – A 16-year-old boy is stabbed in Formby.

21 March – A man is arrested following a stabbing in Birkenhead on 21 March.

3 March – A teenage boy is taken to hospital after he received puncture wounds to his buttocks and a laceration to his wrist at around 3pm. The injuries were not life-threatening.

19 February – At around 5.30pm, police receive a report that a man has been stabbed in Thatto Heath.

15 February – A man is stabbed three times in the buttocks by a group of unknown attackers outside Aldi on Broad Green Road in Old Swan.

30 January – Officers are called to an address on Colbert Close, Wirral to reports that a man had been stabbed in the neck.

– Non-fatal shootings

2 August – Police attend a scene in Walton following reports of an injury shooting.

31 July – Officers receive reports of a man shot in the leg in the car park of a pub on Church Road in Rainford.

10 July – Investigation launched after reports of a man shot and injured in the Croxteth area.

6 July – Two men arrested after man shot in the legs in West Derby.

11 May – At around 10.40pm, a 17-year-old male arrived at Arrowe Park Hospital in Birkenhead with a gunshot wound to his leg.

5 May – Detectives appeal for witnesses to come forward following a shooting in Fazakerley.

26 April – Another injury shooting takes place in Wavertree in the early hours of the morning.

19 April – At around 3pm officers were called to a report that a man had been shot in an alleyway on Rosalind Way, suffering serious injuries.

20 March – Police arrest three men following reports a man was shot and injured in Croxteth on the night of 20 March.

22 March – A man suffers life-changing injuries after being shot in the Woodchurch area of Merseyside.

1 March – An ‘innocent’ 15-year-old girl shot while standing at a bus stop on her way home from school on Upper Warwick Street, police say. A 20 year-old man also suffered a non life-threatening gunshot injury to his hand in the incident.

16 January – A man in his 20s attends the Royal Liverpool University Hospital with gunshot wounds to his chest and arms.

1 January – A 33-year-old man is shot in the torso at a car park at the Netherton pub on Church Road as he entered a car. He was taken to hospital for treatment and has since been discharged. 

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