Merseyside Police has arrested a 36 year-old man on suspicion of murdering nine year-old schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel in the Dovecot area of the city on Tuesday.
Olivia and mum, Cheryl Korbel (46), were both injured when a masked man armed with a handgun fired two shots in the direction of their Kingsheath Avenue home.
The gunman was chasing another man who attempted to escape by forcing his way into Olivia’s home.
Police said two shots were fired at Olivia’s home and they believe the bullet that killed Olivia, struck mum Cheryl first.
Olivia was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital but despite the best efforts of medical staff she was pronounced dead.
Mum, Cheryl, sustained an injury to her wrist during the attack and was discharged from Aintree Hospital on Thursday, confirmed Merseyside Police.
What do we know about the 36 year-old man arrested by police?
It is the second arrest since Merseyside Police launched its murder investigation on Tuesday.
However, the man is the first person to be arrested on suspicion of Olivia’s murder.
The man, who is from the nearby Huyton area, is also suspected of two counts of attempted murder after an operation involving armed officers on Thursday night.
Detectives made the arrest following an armed raid on a property on Thursday evening.
The man is currently in police custody and is being questioned by detectives.
What is known about the gunman?
The description of the gunman released by police is as follows: he wore a black padded jacket, a black balaclava with a peak, dark trousers and black gloves and is described as being 5ft 7ins tall and of slim build.
Who is Joseph Nee?
The police have not yet confirmed Nee as the 35 year-old man who was the intended target however numerous sources on the ground have named him locally.
Police have also confirmed they have identified a second man who they also believe was the gunman’s intended target.
Nee was jailed in 2018 for 45 months after he, along with two other men, were involved in a high speed car chase.
Nee, at the time, admitted to two counts of burglary, two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving whilst disqualified.
Nee was released from prison early in 2021.
“A 35-year-old man, suspected to have been the target of the shooting, has been detained in hospital on a prison recall after breaching the terms of his licence,” said a spokesperson for Merseyside Police.
“He will be recalled to prison to serve the remainder of his licence. He will be further questioned in connection with the murder and remains in a stable condition.”
What happened in the minutes before Olivia was shot?
Detectives believe an individual approached two men, one of which was Nee, walking along Kingsheath Avenue and opened fire.
The two men ran away from the gunman however, one of the men, we now know as being 35 year-old Nee, ran towards Olivia’s home and forced his way in.
Olivia’s mum, Cheryl, attempted to stop Nee getting in and seconds later the gunman also attempted to enter the property.
Police believe the gunman put his hand through the door before discharging the firearm twice.
What happened when the gunman forced his way in?
The gunman fired two shots, one of which police believe struck mum Cheryl first before hitting Olivia in the chest.
The other shot struck Nee.
The attacker then fled the scene on foot, said Merseyside Police.
Nee was taken to hospital by people he knew in a black Audi motor vehicle - this vehicle has since been seized by police.
Mum Cheryl was taken to Aintree Hospital
How has the city of Liverpool reacted?
Olivia was a pupil at St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton.
School principal Rebecca Wilkinson said the nine year-old would “go out of her way to help others”.
“Our school community is devastated at the sad loss of Olivia. We are in shock and disbelief at such tragic news.
“Olivia was a much loved member of our school. She had a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour, and a bubbly personality.
“She was kind-hearted and would go out of her way to help others.”
Ms. Wilkinson added: “She loved to perform and recently participated in the school production of The Wizard Of Oz.
“Olivia will be missed greatly by staff and children at our school.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this extremely sad time.”
Many local people expressed their sadness and anger they felt at the death of Olivia.
The mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, described the Knotty Ash incident as an “appalling act of evil”.
“Fifteen years to the day that Rhys Jones was murdered, another innocent child of our city becomes a victim to gun crime. Has nothing been learned? Enough is enough.”
In a tweet, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, Kim Johnson, said:
“We have a long way to go to eradicate VAWG: the murder of Ashley Dale, the 30-year old woman in Kirkby and now a 9-year old girl. We cannot be indifferent to these violent episodes and must step up the fight against #VAWG. ”
Whilst speaking with BBC Radio 4, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Paula Barker, called for Liverpudliuans to come forward with information.
“There is a culture within the city that people shouldn’t grass on each other. What I would say very clearly is if anyone has any information about any of the murders in the city in recent weeks then please contact Merseyside police or Crimestoppers,” she said.
Anyone with information is asked to DMMerseyside Police Contact Centre or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of 22nd August.