Police not looking for anyone else over killing of Ava, 12, but knife not found
Ava White, a Year 8 pupil at Notre Dame Catholic College, was pronounced dead at Alder Hey Children's Hospital after being stabbed in Liverpool City Centre at around 8.39pm on Thursday
Ava White, a Year 8 pupil, was pronounced dead at Alder Hey Children's Hospital after being stabbed in Liverpool City Centre at around 8.39pm on Thursday.The "unique" and "incredibly popular" girl was in the area around Church Street with friends when she became involved in an altercation with another group of males.
Merseyside Police arrested four boys - one aged 13, two aged 14 and one 15 - in different locations on suspicion of murder in the hours after Ava was stabbed.Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs, who is leading the investigation, and Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine, held a briefing with the media at the new Police HQ, and confirmed a knife is believed to have been the weapon used.
Police also confirmed they are not looking for anyone else and that it is an isolated and rare incident, the Liverpool Echo has reported.Det.Supt Coombs told the ECHO: "Merseyside Police got a call at 8.39pm yesterday evening to a report of an assault in Liverpool City Centre, on our attendance officers have found Ava already collapsed and on the floor and a member of the public giving first aid. headtopics.com
"Paramedics attended and took Ava to Alder Hey Children's Hospital but she passed away a short time later despite medical intervention."We have arrested four males, one of them is 13, two of them are 14 and one is 15, all from the Toxteth area.
"They have been arrested on suspicion of murder and they will be interviewed in Merseyside police stations going forward. We have yet to complete a post-mortem examination to confirm cause of death."We know at the moment Ava was with her friends in Liverpool City Centre, there has been a verbal argument, which has escalated to an assault on her involving a knife."
When asked if the murder weapon had been recovered, Det. Supt Coombs said: "Not as yet."She said the force could not yet comment on whether Ava and her attackers were known to each other, but said: "There's clearly a lot of CCTV in Liverpool city centre, so we are able to say there's been a verbal argument and there has been an assault.
"The offenders have run off up School Lane, across Hanover Street, and into Fleet Street."Some of the difficulties are that a number of the witnesses are young people, and have been extremely distressed."The rest of the detail may take a little bit longer to come out; because we must treat those child witnesses very carefully, today and throughout the weekend they will need special treatment where we interview them with appropriate adults etc. headtopics.com
"We have yet to speak to any of the real key witnesses, the children, properly, but they will probably fill in those blanks."She confirmed the suspects were arrested "promptly" at different locations in the city up until the early hours of today.
Det.Supt Coombs said teams of detectives would be trawling through "hundreds of hours of CCTV".She said: "A lot of the evening was captured on CCTV, I think it will be, of differing qualities is probably the only real accurate way to describe it.
"It literally will be hundreds of hours of CCTV because of so many cameras, and obviously the timescale we will be interested in from when they first arrived in the city centre all the way through to the last arrests."The force is also urging anyone who may have mobile phone footage of photos from around the time of the stabbing to get in touch.
Det.Supt Coombs said: "That is actually one of our big appeals, there were an awful lot of people in town because of the switch on of the lights, and if people would just check their phones really, taking photos, they may have picked something of significance but they don't even know yet, and to contact us. headtopics.com
"We have yet to speak to any of the real key witnesses, the children, properly they will probably fill in those blanks."Asked why the cordon was covering such a wide area of Liverpool City Centre, she said her team had to cover all the times Ava was in town up until the assault, and the escape routes of the offenders.
She said: "Clearly, it's the death of a 12-year-old child so everything we're doing is very, very thorough, and we will release it as quickly as we can, but there's significant searches to be done and forensic work to be done."Asked about the impact of the tragedy, Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine said: "You never want a 12-year-old to be murdered, no city would want this to happen, it's very sad for the city but it's even sadder for her family. Their lives are never going to be the same.
"We will put in everything we can to ensure we get justice for her but then I'm sure we will be looking at; was there things we could have done, what our partners could have done that might have made a difference because we never want another 12-year-old here or anywhere else to be murdered when they're out and about having fun with their friends."
The ECHO asked if worried parents could be reassured that the city centre is a safe place.AC Waine said: "What I would say is we have got four people in custody, at the moment we're not looking for anyone else, this is an isolated incident, it's not connected to anything else as far as we know at this stage. This is a very, very rare event; so I hope that will reassure people.
"We have got significant resources on the ground, although we had that anyway because of the counter-terrorism incident to reassure communities."We had an increased operation for the night time economy for this weekend anyway and that will continue and we will review that on Monday to see what we need to do there, but there are significant resources and also at the council, licensing, there's a lot of work going on anyway to ensure that Liverpool for people to go out and enjoy themselves."Read more: Daily Mirror »
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