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A young woman who died in a hail of bullets after gunmen burst into her home is the second member of her family to have died in a bungled gangland hit, it has emerged.
Ashley Dale, 28, was not the “intended target” when armed men attacked her in a Liverpool garden, shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 21, police say.
And now it has been revealed that Ashley's younger brother, Lewis Dunne, was also killed in a mistaken-identity shooting.
READ MORE: Woman, 28, tragically shot dead in garden was 'not intended target' as tributes pour in
Lewis was aged just 16 when he was mistaken for a member of a rival gang by brothers Paul and John Martin, and their accomplice, Jake Culshaw while out walking along the Leeds-Liverpool canal in November 2015.
Culshaw and Paul Martin were ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars while John Martin was given a minimum of 28 years.
Lewis's mum, Gemma Whitfield, said at the time that his death had caused "a tidal wave of trauma" and that "grief is a lonely place, grief caused by murder is even lonelier."
She added that Ashley had suffered a “loss of identity” after her brother was killed: "I mourn my daughter’s loss of identity as a big sister… I have held my daughter in my arms as she wept for her only brother."
And now history has repeated itself after armed attackers barged through her front door and, say Liverpool police, "indiscriminately" fired at Ashley on multiple occasions.
Girl, 9, stabbed to death as police probe attack dubbed 'shocking' by locals
In a statement, her family said: “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.”
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Merseyside Police Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said: "This clearly was a very shocking incident which has led to the death of a young woman.
"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.
"The community, as always, are our eyes and ears and we know that there may be people living locally who saw or heard something in the early hours which may prove to be significant to our investigation.
"I would urge those people to please come forward and tell us what they know.
"If you live or work locally and have private CCTV or a Ring doorbell please check it to see if it captured anything which may assist us".
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"Similarly," he added, "I would ask taxi and delivery drivers if they were driving in the area to check their dashcam footage.
"We are particularly keen to find anyone who saw a vehicle being driven erratically in the area around Prescot Road.
"Information and video footage can shared directly with the investigation team via the police public portal – Public Portal (mipp.police.uk).
"You can also contact us via social media @MerPolCC or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 22000615873."
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