24 August 2022

Intended victim of gunman who killed nine-year-old girl in Liverpool is arrested

24 August 2022

The 35-year-old man targeted by the masked gunman who killed Olivia Pratt-Korbel 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.

Olivia was fatally shot in her own home in the Dovecot area of Liverpool on Monday night when the intended victim forced his way in as he tried to escape the gunman chasing him.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said the 35-year-old had allegedly breached his licence conditions with “poor behaviour” and had been detained in hospital.

A statement from Merseyside Police 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.”

Children leave flowers near to the scene in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, Liverpool, where nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel was fatally shot (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

The man who had entered the family 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.

The force would not say when he was released from prison.

Olivia’s death is one of three fatal shootings in the area in the space of a week, and comes 15 years after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was fatally shot on his way home from football practice in Croxteth, Liverpool.

Officers from Merseyside Police carried out a series of raids targeting gun crime in the city on Wednesday as tributes continued to pour in for the schoolgirl.

The force’s Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said the “shocking” killing “crosses every single boundary” as the force appealed to the “criminal fraternity” in Liverpool for information.

The BBC reported two sources had come forward and given police the same name for the gunman.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen urged the community “to keep helping this family in every way possible”.

He said on Wednesday: “Our enquiries continue into the shocking murder of Olivia, and supporting her family as they try to come to terms with this tragedy.

“We will do all we can to take all of these involved in gun crime off the streets, as this arrest demonstrates.

“This is not the time for anyone who knows who was responsible to stay silent.

“It is a time for us all to make Merseyside a place where the use of guns on our streets is totally unacceptable and those who use them are held to account.

“If you saw, heard, captured or know anything, tell us directly or anonymously and we will continue to act.”

Olivia was at home with her two older siblings when her mother Cheryl Korbel opened the door after hearing gunshots fired outside.

Ms Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door on the gunman while Olivia stood behind her.

The gunman was wearing a black padded jacket, a black balaclava with a peak, dark trousers and black gloves, and had fired shots at two men walking along Kingsheath Avenue, causing them to flee.

Tributes including flowers and teddies have been left near the scene of the shooting amid shock at Olivia’s death.

She went to St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, where she was thought of as a kind-hearted, helpful and happy little girl, according to her headteacher Rebecca Wilkinson.

Ms Wilkinson said: “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.”

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