Olivia Pratt-Korbel named as victim in Liverpool shooting as mother tried to stop gunman

Police searching for suspect after gun chase spilled into the girl's home

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A nine-year-old girl fatally shot as she stood behind her mother who was trying to stop a gunman entering the family home has been identified as Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

The 35-year-old man targeted by the masked gunman who killed Olivia has been arrested for breaching the terms of his release from prison and will be questioned in connection with the nine-year-old's murder, police said on Wdednesday.

Olivia died after the shooting on Monday night when a man not known to the family ran into their terraced house in the Dovecot area of Liverpool in an attempt to get away from a gunman, Merseyside Police said.

Her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door while her daughter stood behind her.

The man who had entered their home suffered gunshot wounds to his upper body and, as Olivia lay dying, was picked up and taken to hospital by friends driving a dark-coloured Audi.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “We will not rest until those who are responsible are put behind bars. I can guarantee that no stone will be left unturned.”

The incident happened exactly 15 years after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was fatally shot in Croxteth, Liverpool.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said Olivia had been at home with her two older siblings and mother when Ms Korbel opened the door after hearing gunshots outside.

He said a figure wearing a black padded jacket, a black balaclava with a peak, dark trousers and black gloves, fired shots at two men walking along Kingsheath Avenue, causing both of them to run away.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy from Merseyside Police speak to the media after a nine-year-old girl was fatally shot in Knotty Ash, Liverpool. PA

One of the men ran towards the open door of Olivia’s home and forced his way in, DCS Kameen said.

“As that was taking place the person with the gun had followed the male to this property,” he said.

“That person has also tried to force entry to the property and has managed, it would appear, to put their hand through the open door as Cheryl continued to try and close it.

“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,” DCS Kameen 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," Merseyside police said.

"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."

Olivia was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital by officers but later died.

The Audi used to transport the injured man has since been seized, police said.

DCS Kameen urged the person responsible to come forward.

He said: “My appeal is to the person responsible for this horrendous attack on a nine-year-old schoolgirl to recognise the pain and anguish that this has caused to her family.

“I want that individual to hand themselves in.”

Ms Kennedy 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.”

The force also appealed to the “criminal fraternity” in Liverpool for information, saying that the incident “crosses every single boundary”.

Updated: August 26, 2022, 4:57 AM
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