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Olivia Pratt-Korbel murder: Police officer reveals how he desperately tried to save dying 9-yr-old

Armed officers reportedly 'scooped and ran' with the girl to get her to the hospital in the back of a police car
UPDATED AUG 31, 2022
Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, died at her Liverpool home on the night of August 22 after being shot by a gun-toting gangster (Rebecca Louise/Facebook)
Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, died at her Liverpool home on the night of August 22 after being shot by a gun-toting gangster (Rebecca Louise/Facebook)

DOVECOT, LIVERPOOL: An inquest into the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel heard that a police officer desperately tried to save the little girl's life by using his hand to cover her gunshot wound. Armed officers "scooped and ran" with the girl to get her to the hospital in the back of a police car, said reports.

Olivia died at her Liverpool home on the night of August 22 after being shot by a gun-toting gangster. It was an ordinary day for Cheryl Korbel, 46, and her three children at their terraced house on Kingsheath Avenue, Liverpool. However, a gangland confrontation that had flared up just around 100 yards along the road near the corner of Finch Lane changed their lives forever. The fight led to the tragic death of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.


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Two men walking along Kingsheath Avenue from Finch Lane were attacked by a gunman in a black balaclava, a black padded jacket, black trousers and black gloves, the Daily Mail reported. Police obtained CCTV footage showing the men running for their lives as the gunman began shooting. Hearing all the noise, Olivia's mother opened the front door of their house to investigate the commotion. 

Seeing the door opening, one of the fleeing men, former heroin dealer Joseph Nee, hurled himself at it to seek refuge. Nee forced his way into their home and despite Korbel's desperate attempt at slamming the door shut, the gunman managed to get a hand through the door. Olivia was standing directly behind her mother at the foot of the stairs. "A shot has been fired, which we believe has hit Cheryl, injuring her, and then fatally wounding Olivia," Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said.

Two bullets had also pierced the man who had entered the house to escape the gunman. His friends arrived to help me but paid no attention to Olivia and her mother. Olivia lay crumpled on the floor at the foot of the stairs with a gunshot wound to her chest. The man was rushed to the hospital by his friends but Olivia and Korbel were left behind. At the time of the tragedy, Olivia’s two elder siblings were in the house, as were two neighbors who were visiting. 

"The man being chased forced his way into Olivia’s house and the offender ran in after him firing a number of shots with complete disregard for Olivia and her family who had no connection with the gunman or the man who forced his way in," Merseyside Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said. "When Olivia lay dying, he was picked up by his friends and taken to hospital. On arrival, our officers could see just how poorly Olivia was and they rushed her to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where, despite the best efforts of medical staff, she sadly died."

Two men arrested on suspicion of the murder have now been released by detectives, who said they need to be able to "build up a strong evidential picture". Opening the inquest into her death at Gerard Majella Courthouse, Andre Rebello, a senior coroner, told the inquest of his horror at the crime. Rebello had dealt with the death of Rhys Jones, 11, after he was shot in Croxteth, Liverpool, 15 years ago.

"Armed response officers attended and a nine-year-old child, Olivia Pratt-Korbel, was discovered with a gunshot wound to her chest. Police officers scooped and ran with Olivia to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in the back of a police car. At approximately 10.15pm she was brought into the main entrance in the arms of a police officer," Rebello said, according to the Daily Mail. "The officer had covered the wound to her chest with his hand and she was noted to have a weak heart which had stopped prior to her arrival in hospital."

A major trauma call was put out after Olivia arrived at the hospital and she was given cardiac massage and a rapid blood transfusion. However, Olivia did not survive. "At 11.25pm, after extensive efforts by all involved, the decision was made to stop resuscitation and Olivia was confirmed as having died," Rebello said. "I understand there's a live homicide investigation and though there have been several arrests nobody stands charged with murder."

He added, "Fifteen years ago I was the coroner in Liverpool and the death of Rhys was reported to me. It is quite shocking that society has not changed for the better. It is shocking that a nine-year-old little girl, with a full life in front of her, is shot anywhere, but to be shot in her own home, in the safety of her home, is heinous and unforgiving. There must be people in Liverpool, or elsewhere by now, who know precisely by what means Olivia died and who was responsible for her death."

"Olivia's death will not just affect her immediate family and friends but also school communities, church communities, not just in the Knotty Ash and Dovecot areas of Liverpool but the whole city, Merseyside, and I know right across this country people are shocked by Olivia's death," Rebello further said. "I understand Merseyside Police would be very grateful for anyone with any information who could bring some knowledge to the circumstances in which Olivia came by her death, no matter how insignificant that information may be."

Olivia was born in Liverpool to mother Cheryl Korbel, a support worker, and father John Francis Pratt, a mechanic. Her cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the chest, Rebello confirmed. He released the body to the family for burial. The inquest has been adjourned to January 4. A 36-year-old man from Huyton and a 33-year-old from Dovecot, were arrested on suspicion of murder and two counts of attempted murder in relation to her death. They have been released on bail.