'pointless' | 

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (9) was tragic victim of vicious 'tit-for-tat' Liverpool gang war

Neighbours have also 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

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (9) who was shot dead in her Liverpool home

Olivia pictured with her mum Cheryl

Eleanor Barlow, Josh Payne and Helen WilliamPA Media

The little Liverpool girl who was killed by a balaclava-clad gunman who stormed into her house while chasing another man was the tragic victim of a vicious 'tit-for-tat' war among “feral” gangsters in the city, it has been claimed.

Nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel died after she was hit in the chest when the gunman opened fire on a 35-year-old man who was completely unknown to her family but was a known criminal broke into her terraced house in Kingsheath Avenue, in the Dovecot area of Liverpool on Monday night.

As her mother Cheryl Korbel (46) tried to close the door on the gunman she was shot in the wrist while Olivia who was standing behind her was hit in the chest.

It has been reported that two sources are thought to have come forward and given the same name of the masked gunman to Merseyside Police.

Neighbours have also 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.

In that incident just two weeks ago gunmen riding a dark-coloured car shot at a man on an electric bike. Nobody has been arrested for the incident.

One local said: “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.”

Another 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.

Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said the "shocking" killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel "crosses every single boundary" as the force appealed to the "criminal fraternity" in Liverpool for information.

Ms Kennedy told a press conference on Tuesday: "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 - not just the gunman, we need to find who supplied the weapon and who arranged this terrible incident."

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.

Ms 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."

Olivia 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.

She said: "Olivia was a much-loved member of our school. She had a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour and a bubbly personality.

Olivia pictured with her mum Cheryl

"She was kind-hearted and would go out of her way to help others."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the shooting as an "unimaginable tragedy" and promised that Merseyside Police would get "whatever they need to catch those responsible".

The killing 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 fired 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.

One of the men ran towards the open door of Olivia's home and forced his way in.

Mr Kameen said: "As that was taking place the person with the gun has followed the male to this property.

"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."

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.

Mr Kameen 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."

Barbara Murray, Labour councillor for the Yew Tree ward in Liverpool where Olivia lived, repeated police calls for anyone with information to come forward.

She told BBC Breakfast: "Coming forward, you don't have to go to the police. (Liverpool) has got 90 councillors, I think any one of them would liaise with police on behalf of anybody who wants to give information.

"Really strongly, I would say people can use Crimestoppers. It's an anonymous phone call. You don't have to give information about yourself.

"When something like this happens, it's always the case, someone, somewhere will know who (the perpetrator) is."


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