13 September 2022

Classmates receive counselling following death of Olivia Pratt-Korbel

13 September 2022

Classmates of Olivia Pratt-Korbel have been sharing their memories of her and receiving counselling since returning to school after her death, her headteacher said.

The nine-year-old died on August 22 when she was shot in her home in Dovecot, Liverpool.

Rebecca Wilkinson, headteacher of St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, said: “What has been nice since the children have come back are the memories that they have shared from what they remember of Olivia and, in what has been a sad three weeks, that has been really heartening, to listen to the memories that the children have shared of her.

“That’s brought a lot of happiness really in what is a very tragic situation, listening to those memories.”

Floral tributes in memory of Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

The school’s 480 pupils have been offered counselling since returning following the summer holidays.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “We have had counsellors in every class.

“That’s definitely helped and what has been great is how resilient the children have been.

“They are devastated at the loss of their friend, they truly are, but the counselling has definitely helped and we have been so proud of the resilience the children have shown since they’ve been back.”

Mrs Wilkinson said Olivia “oozed kindness” and would be remembered for her smile.

She said: “She’d walk into my room with her friends and that smile would just light up the room.”

Mrs Wilkinson said pupils would be allowed to wear pink nail varnish on Thursday, the day of Olivia’s funeral, in memory of the time when the schoolgirl tried to hide her hands from her headteacher to conceal her painted nails.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Family Handout/PA) (PA Media)

Students will not be attending the service, at neighbouring St Margaret Mary’s Church, Mrs Wilkinson said, but prayers will be written in school and an art project of flowers put together in Olivia’s memory.

She added: “In the afternoon we are going to watch Olivia’s favourite film, which was Matilda, so that’s something for the children to look forward to.”

The school also has plans for a permanent memorial to Olivia.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “You would hope this would never happen again, not in any school.

“It’s not something I would wish upon any headteacher.

“The loss of any child in a school is tragic, the loss of a child with so much personality makes it doubly hard.”

Police are continuing to appeal for information to help them find Olivia’s killer.

On Tuesday, officers remained at West Derby Golf Club where searches for the two guns used in the attack began on Monday.

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