Coroner calls for public to provide information on ‘heinous’ Liverpool shootings

·3-min read
Ashley Dale, 28, who was shot dead in Old Swan on Sunday (Merseyside Police/family handout)/PA
Ashley Dale, 28, who was shot dead in Old Swan on Sunday (Merseyside Police/family handout)/PA

A coroner has called for people to come forward with information as he opened inquests into the deaths of shooting victims in Liverpool.

Inquests into the deaths of 28-year-old council worker Ashley Dale and Sam Rimmer, a 22-year-old mechanic, were opened along with that of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in a 20-minute hearing at the Gerard Majella Courthouse in Liverpool on Tuesday.

Opening Ms Dale’s inquest, senior coroner for Liverpool Andre Rebello said: “Clearly until someone is apprehended and due process of law applied to the circumstances of this most heinous tragedy, the family will struggle with a very difficult bereavement journey.”

Sam Rimmer (Merseyside Police/PA) (PA Media)
Sam Rimmer (Merseyside Police/PA) (PA Media)

The hearing was told environmental health officer Ms Dale was found when police were called to her home in Old Swan in the early hours of Sunday August 21.

Mr Rebello said: “A concerned member of the public contacted Merseyside Police advising there was a female lying on her back on the floor in the back yard of her address on Leinster Road.

“Officers attended the address and noted the front door had been forced.”

He said police found Ms Dale unresponsive in the back yard, her mobile phone on the floor nearby and several bullet casings, consistent with a firearms discharge of multiple rounds.

A post-mortem examination gave her medical cause of death as a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Mr Rebello said neighbours reported hearing loud bangs and the wheels of a vehicle “screeching” away from the area.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Family Handout/PA) (PA Media)
Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Family Handout/PA) (PA Media)

Ms Dale was pronounced dead at 1.48am, the inquest heard.

A 25-year-old man from Liverpool arrested on suspicion of Ms Dale’s murder and a 21-year-old woman, also from Liverpool, arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender were conditionally bailed pending further inquiries on Tuesday.

Police believe the Knowsley Council worker was not the intended target of the shooting.

Mr Rimmer’s inquest was told he had been with two other males on Lavrock Bank, Dingle, on August 16 when two males on electric bikes arrived on the road.

Mr Rebello said: “Sam and his associates had chased the males from the close, however the males on bikes met up with two other males on electric bikes.”

Somebody out there has information and that may assist the police and I would encourage anyone with any knowledge to provide it

Andre Rebello

He said the four males returned and discharged firearms “numerous times”.

Mr Rimmer was hit and collapsed, the inquest heard.

He was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital just before midnight but despite medical intervention was confirmed as having died at about 1am.

Mr Rebello said: “It goes without saying that this young 22-year-old male appears to have been murdered, and clearly somebody out there has information and that may assist the police, and I would encourage anyone with any knowledge to provide it to their local police station or ring the police, or even ring Crimestoppers.

“It is difficult enough to deal with bereavement from natural causes, but when the death is from such a heinous, unnecessary act a family and bereaved relatives clearly need some progress with regard to the investigation to find at least some degree of closure.”

Four men have been arrested and bailed on suspicion of Mr Rimmer’s murder.