'I just hope they get them': Vigil in memory of Olivia Pratt-Korbel

·3-min read

Olivia Pratt-Korbel would have received her Holy Communion at St Margaret Mary's Roman Catholic Church during the school year that's about to start.

Instead, it was the setting for a prayer vigil in her memory - the first opportunity for the community she called home to come together in her memory.

They gathered at sunset, a short walk from Olivia's school, to hear the Right Reverend Tom Williams, the auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, lead them in prayer in what he called a "dark hour" for the community.

More than a week after she was shot dead in her home, Olivia's death has left a palpable sense of outrage and disbelief in the community. The vigil was a rare moment for peaceful reflection in this corner of Liverpool.

Olivia's mother Cheryl, who fought desperately to keep the gunman out of the family's house last Monday night, was among the 250-strong congregation.

Also there was the headteacher of Olivia's school. Rebecca Wilkinson said counselling would be available when children return to school next week. "It is an opportunity to find out how deep the impact has been on the children," she said.

The hugs and tears and the messages in the book of condolence reflected the strength of emotions still running very high here.

"Sad, just so sad," one woman said as she left the service. Another said: "I just fear for the young children growing today up in a cruel, cruel world."

She added a sentiment almost everyone here shares about Olivia's death: "I just hope they get them."

Speaking earlier, Rt Rev Williams said: "We've all taken this personally. There's a real sense of family in Liverpool - you hit one, you hit the other, you hit everybody."

The nine-year-old schoolgirl died after being attacked by a balaclava-clad gunman who chased another man into her house in Liverpool at around 10pm on Monday 22 August.

An inquest has heard how Olivia was scooped up by police and taken to hospital after being shot - as an officer tried to save her by using his hand to cover the bullet wound in her chest wound.

Armed officers who attended the scene in Dovecot "scooped and ran" with Olivia to get her to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in the back of a police car.

She had a weak pulse, which stopped before she arrived at the medical centre in an officer's arms at about 10.15pm, the court was told.

Olivia went into cardiac arrest and in spite of "extensive efforts", she could not be resuscitated.

Last weekend, police investigating her death released two men on bail who had been arrested and questioned on suspicion of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

They were a 36-year-old man from Huyton and a 33-year-old man from Dovecot.

The 36-year-old was recalled to prison after breaching the terms of his licence.