Residents in the affluent town of Formby are in shock after a teenager was stabbed in a church graveyard on Tuesday afternoon.
Police are appealing for information following the incident at around 4.55pm when officers were called to School Lane after it was reported that a 16-year-old boy had been stabbed.
The victim was taken to hospital and is now in a serious but stable condition.
It was reported that the two male suspects rode off on bikes after the incident at Our Lady of Compassion RC Church, Formby, which is metres from the centre of the town and next door to Waitrose.
A local parishioner, who has attended the church for 52 years, said: “We are so shocked and saddened about what has happened, our prayers go out to the lad who has been stabbed and his family.
“Something needs to be done to prevent these types of incidents happening, we’re so upset that this has happened in Formby.”
The police said an investigation has started and officers will remain in the area to carry out forensic, CCTV, house-to-house and witness enquiries, and to speak to the local community.
Chief Inspector Simon Owen said: “Enquiries are in the very early stages to establish what has taken place. I would appeal to anyone who was vicinity of the cemetery on School Lane just before 5pm to please contact us.
“I want to also ask people who were in the area but may not have seen anything to please check your dashcam footage and any CCTV that could have they captured something which may be vital to the case.”
Reaction from the church
The church posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the services in the church today have been cancelled.
“We were very sad to hear there has been a police incident, believed to be a stabbing and robbery, in Our Lady’s Church Graveyard earlier this evening. The victim has been taken to hospital.
“The police have requested that the area around the church be kept clear so that the forenic team can carry out their work in daylight tomorrow.
“As a result services in the church on Wednesday 9th March have been cancelled - there will be no Mass or Morning Prayer.
“St Jerome’s Church will be open for private prayer from 9am to 12noon.
“Please keep the victim in your prayers as indeed we are doing too.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 673 of 8 March.