Ava White: Police urge occupants of a van near the murder scene to come forward

Four males – one aged 13, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 years, all from Toxteth - have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in custody.

<p>Ava White has been described as “unique” and an “incredibly popular girl". Photo: Merseyside Police</p>

Ava White has been described as “unique” and an “incredibly popular girl". Photo: Merseyside Police

Police have urged the occupants of a van seen in the area where 12-year-old Ava White was murdered to come forward with any information.

Merseyside Police detectives have issued an image of the van and said the occupants may have witnessed Thursday’s assault in Liverpool city centre.

Image of van near Ava White murder scene. Photo: Merseyside Police

Road closures remain in place on School Lane, Church Alley and Fleet Street as police enquiries continue.

Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs said: “Merseyside Police is absolutely determined to bring those responsible to justice. Today we are also issuing new images of Ava on behalf of her family.

“We are also sharing a still image of a van which was in the vicinity of the incident and may have witnessed something vital.

“To be clear, we think those vehicle’s occupants are witnesses, and in no way suspected of being involved. However, we still need to speak to those people as soon as possible to confirm what information they might hold.

“We’d also urge anyone else who has captured the incident or aftermath to send any images/footage directly via the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/05MP21M43-PO1

“Four males remain in custody for questioning, and a part of the city centre remains cordoned off while we continue our work. I’d like to thank the businesses and residents in the area for their patience and understanding while we make these vital enquiries.

Ava White

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people not to make any comments on social media which might potentially jeopardise our investigation, including of course names of any people potentially involved.

“We welcome any such information, but please only pass it on in the following ways so we can continue to make progress in our investigation.”

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 Crimestoppers.

Ava White killed after “verbal argument”

Ava White died after suffering “catastrophic injuries” following an assault in Liverpool city centre on Thursday night.

She was with friends when she was attacked shortly after the Christmas lights were switched on at Church Street.

The police were called to the scene at approximately 20.39 after receiving reports of an assault.

Four males – one aged 13, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 years, all from Toxteth - have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in custody.

Police say Ava became embroiled in a “verbal argument” with a group of boys, she was attacked and the group fled the scene as she lay dying.

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.

Merseyside Police initially said she had been stabbed but later announced a post-mortem examination would be carried out to establish the cause of death.

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy, said: “We believe that Ava and her friends had been involved in a verbal argument which culminated in Ava being assaulted causing catastrophic injuries. And we understand that the offenders were then seen to run up School Lane across Hanover Street and on to Fleet Street.

“We have arrested four males, one aged 13 years, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 from Toxteth, on suspicion of murder and they are currently being interviewed at police stations on Merseyside.”

Ava died on White Ribbon Day - a worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls.