Ava White: Liverpool murder arrests after girl, 12, dies.
A 12-year-old girl has died after suffering “catastrophic injuries” during an argument in a city centre.
Ava White was with friends in Liverpool when she was assaulted at 20:40 GMT on Thursday.
Merseyside Police previously said she had been stabbed but later said a post-mortem examination would be carried out to establish the cause of death.
Four teenage boys, aged between 13 and 15 and from Toxteth, have been arrested on suspicion of her murder.
Officers found Ava collapsed on the ground on Church Alley shortly after the city’s Christmas lights switch-on took place.
Ava White Suspect Photos
A member of the public, who had witnessed the incident, was giving her first aid, police said.
Ava, who attended Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton, was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital with critical injuries but died a short time later.
“We believe that Ava and her friends had been involved in a verbal argument which culminated in Ava being assaulted, causing catastrophic injuries,” Assistant Chief Constable Jon Roy said.
“We understand that the offenders were then seen to run up School Lane across Hanover Street and on to Fleet Street.”
Paying tribute to Ava, her head teacher Peter Duffy said the Year Eight pupil was a “much loved, valued and unique member of the Notre Dame family”.
“She was an incredibly popular girl with a fantastic group of friends,” he said.
“My staff are working with students to provide all the support they need at this traumatic time.”
Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said he was “horrified” by Ava’s death.
“I am angry today for Ava and her family, for the parents across the region worrying about their children’s safety and angry that such a heinous act should take place here,” he tweeted.
Sarah Doyle, the assistant mayor of Liverpool, said she was “heartbroken” at the “extremely devastating” news.
“It’s senseless and I know it will bring a lot of fear to communities across the city,” she said.
“Families, young people, visitors, come to Liverpool city centre to enjoy themselves. I just want to send a message of reassurance that our city is a safe place but I know this will be giving a lot of anxiety to people.
“We all share in [her family’s] unimaginable grief.”
Posting on Twitter, Dame Rachel de Souza, children’s commissioner for England, said: “This kind of violence involving a child and with such tragic consequences is shocking at any time, but when the victim is 12 it’s particularly so.”
Mary Katilius, 65, from Limerick, said she had been nearby with her granddaughter when Ava was attacked.
“We heard screams and someone said to call an ambulance. We rushed over straight away but there was already a man helping her,” she said.
Floral tributes have been left near the scene, with one message saying: “Rest in peace angel.”
Lacey, 17, who came to lay flowers and a balloon, said her younger sister had been close friends with Ava.
“She was just a bubbly character, so loving and caring,” she added.
“All of her friends are going to be devastated, they’re such a nice group of girls.”
There is a massive police presence in Liverpool with several of the city’s main shopping streets taped off.
Dozens of police vehicles are parked close to the scene where 12-year-old Ava was fatally attacked.
Many shoppers and tourists are having to ask officers how they can get to their destinations as many are unaware of the tragedy which lies behind the disruption to their usual routine.
Ava died on what is called White Ribbon Day, a worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Civic leaders came together yesterday to mark it and start 16 days of activity to highlight the issue.
The death of a girl, not yet in her teens, throws the need for the campaign into the starkest relief.