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Children left ‘traumatised’ after witnessing fatal attack on Ava White
November 26, 2021
A youth worker has described how 'traumatised' youngsters have been inundating him with calls following the tragic death of 12-year-old Ava White.
Schoolgirl Ava was sadly pronounced dead at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital last night, having been fatally assaulted in Liverpool City Centre.
The attack took place in Church Street at around 8.39pm, not long after the lights of the city’s main Christmas tree had been switched on.
Four teenage boys, all from the city's Toxteth area, have been arrested on suspicion of murder, Liverpool Echo reports.
Alan Walsh, a local youth worker and organiser of the Real Men Don’t Carry Knives campaign, said he began to receive phone calls shortly after midnight, from young people who had been at the scene of the crime.
Speaking about the calls he's receiving, Mr Walsh told the Liverpool ECHO: “They were just walking past, some of them were just 13, and they are just traumatised. I have taken about 12 calls since last night.”
He added: “I am just numb. I feel terrible for her family, but it’s also the underlying trauma going on behind it as well. You just can’t comprehend it.”
Taking to his Twitter account, Mr Walsh shared screenshots of messages he had received from horrified youngsters since the horrific crime took place, adding: “The ripple effect of this will be felt for a life time. I took my first text message at 12.09pm this morning asking for help.
"Please any young person who has witnessed this horrific incident and needs support please get in touch we will get you councillors and psychologist help.”
Mr Walsh's comments come as Ava's school, Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton, released a statement about her tragic death. Ava was in year eight at the establishment.
"Ava was a much loved, valued and unique member of the Notre Dame family," said Peter Duffy, Head Teacher. "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."
A Home Office post mortem is due to be carried out to establish the cause of Ava's death.
Merseyside Police said officers found the youngster collapsed on the ground, with a member of the general public attempting to perform first aid.
Merseyside Police's Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy, said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to Ava’s family, who are being supported 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."
He continued: “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."
Four boys – one aged 13 years, two aged 14 years and one aged 15 years – have been arrested on suspicion of murder, and are currently being interviewed.
Assistant Chief Constable Roy said the Police are still keen to hear from anyone who might have witnessed what happened, adding: “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."