A teenager has been charged with the murder of 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre.
Ava, who had been in town with friends, suffered “catastrophic injuries” in an assault on Thursday night after attending the Christmas lights switch-on at Church Street.
The 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, sitting as a youth court, on Monday charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
During the five-minute hearing on Monday, District Judge Wendy Lloyd sent the case to Liverpool Crown Court.
The boy will be held in secure accommodation until he appears in the court on Wednesday.
“Because this is a murder case it has to go to the crown court, that is the only place murder cases can be tried,” Judge Lloyd said.
“I am formally sending it to the crown court for Wednesday morning. Between now and then you are going to be kept in secure accommodation.”
Three other boys – one aged 13, one aged 14 and one aged 15 - who were also arrested in connection with the incident, were conditionally bailed by police on Sunday.
Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs of Merseyside Police said: “It’s also vitally important as we continue the investigation that nobody posts comments or names on social media which could potentially impact upon us getting justice for Ava’s family.
“Please trust us that we are doing all we can to investigate and update people on this tragic incident, and we do not want anything to jeopardise this.”
What happened to Ava White?
Merseyside Police said Ava became embroiled in “a verbal argument” with a group of boys shortly after the Christmas lights were turned on in Church Street on Thursday night.
The incident then escalated into an “assault on her with a knife” and the offenders fled up School Lane, across Hanover Street and into Fleet Street.
Officers were called to the scene at approximately 20.39 after receiving reports of the attack.
When officers arrived they discovered Ava collapsed on the ground in Church Alley and a member of the public, who witnessed the incident, was giving first aid.
Paramedics attended at the scene and Ava was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where sadly she died a short time later despite the best efforts of medical staff.
Four males – one aged 13, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 years, all from Toxteth - were subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder.
Ava died on White Ribbon Day - a worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls.
“Utterly tragic event”
On Friday, flowers were being laid on Church Street in tribute to Ava, as forensics officers and police searched the scene.
A balloon was left by 17-year-old Lacey, who did not want to give her surname, who said her younger sister had been close friends with Ava.
She said: “She was just a bubbly character, so loving and caring.
“She came out with her friends to enjoy herself and I think it’s just wrong that this has happened.”
Ava was a popular Year Eight student at Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton and had previously attended The Trinity Catholic Primary school.
Peter Duffy, Head Teacher of Notre Dame, said: “Ava was a much loved, valued and unique member of the Notre Dame family. She was an incredibly popular girl with a fantastic group of friends.
“Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out to Ava’s family and friends and all those affected by this utterly tragic event.
“My staff are working with students to provide all the support they need at this traumatic time.”
Call for witness information
The police are urging anyone who has captured the incident or aftermath to send any images/footage directly to the police via the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/05MP21M43-PO1
You can pass information on with reference 21000820789 via ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook, 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.