A 12-year-old girl has died after being assaulted in Liverpool city centre following an altercation.
A murder investigation has been launched following the death of Ava White. She was killed when out with friends on Thursday night during the annual switch-on of the Christmas tree lights on Church Street.
Four males – one aged 13, two aged 14 and one aged 15, all from the Toxteth area of Liverpool – have been arrested on suspicion of murder, Merseyside police said.
Officers were called at approximately 8.39pm to reports of an assault.
On arrival they discovered Ava collapsed on the ground and a member of the public who witnessed the incident was giving first aid. Paramedics attended and Ava was taken to Alder Hey children’s hospital, where she died a short time later.
In a statement, Merseyside police said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm that a 12-year-old girl, Ava White, has died following an incident in Liverpool city centre last night.”
Assistant chief constable Jon Roy said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Ava’s family, who are being supported by specialist family liaison officers. Their world has been torn apart and no parent should ever have to face that knock on the door from police officers to say that their child has died.
“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.
He said the four males were being interviewed at police stations on Merseyside.
He added: “Liverpool city centre was very busy at the time of the incident as the lights on the Christmas tree on Church Street had been officially switched on a short while earlier and we would appeal to anyone who was on Church Street who saw the incident, or may even have captured it on their mobile phone, to come forward.
“Anyone who witnessed the incident, or may even have filmed the incident, or who has information which could help us with our inquiries, is asked to DM @MerPolCC, message ‘Merseyside police contact centre on Facebook’ or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 with reference 0899 of 25 November.
“There will be additional officers in the city over the coming days and in the run-up to Christmas who will be providing visible reassurance to those who live, work and visit the city.
“Ava’s death should be a reminder to us all about the part that we each have to play in eliminating violence against women and girls.
“Ava died on White Ribbon Day which is a global campaign to end violence against women, and yesterday partners from around the city joined together to mark the day, which is also the start of 16 days of activity designed to raise awareness of VAWG [violence against women and girls] show how we are working together to make sure that VAWG is something that should not be tolerated in any society.”
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