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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
George Lithgow

School pupils call for peace year on from Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s death

PA Media

Pupils from Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s school have pleaded for peace to mark the anniversary of her death.

In a poignant video, children and members of the community – including Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel – read a poem about the power of community spirit following the murder of the nine-year-old last August.

Thomas Cashman, 34, was jailed earlier this year for a minimum of 42 years for the murder of Olivia, who was shot in Dovecot, Liverpool, after Cashman chased another man into her home.

Pupils from Olivia’s school St Margaret Mary’s in Huyton, Merseyside, as well as Malvern and Park Brow primary schools said: “We could be family with no enemies. We’ll never know if we don’t try it.”

Olivia’s mother Cheryl, who was also injured during Cashman’s attack, speaks at the end of the video, saying: “Make sure we never deny it.”

The poem was written by Liverpool-born Curtis Watts, who worked with the schools and local community to develop the words.

Following Olivia’s murder, Merseyside Police and partners launched a Home Office-designed initiative called Evolve Liverpool and Knowsley to disrupt and deter organised crime groups.

Between January and July this year the work of the scheme has led to 379 arrests, three firearm seizures, and 44 premises searches, Merseyside Police said.

More than 4kg of suspected class A and B drugs have been seized and 39 safeguarding referrals have been made.

Chief Superintendent Zoe Thornton, who is the head of local policing and oversees the Evolve work carried out by Merseyside Police, said: “A year ago today we were left shattered by the callous murder of Olivia.

“Olivia’s death was the fourth death that month at the hands of reckless criminals prepared to wield a gun.

“The strength of Merseyside lies in its communities, and by harnessing that strength we can break the cycle of crime and make our neighbourhoods safer for generations to come.”

Liverpool City Council leader councillor Liam Robinson said: “The senseless murder of Olivia made us ask that most uncomfortable of questions: what type of world are we living in, where our children aren’t safe in their home?

“If you want to show your respects for Olivia and her family on the first anniversary of her death, then speak up when you see those who do wrong.

“To turn a blind eye only serves those who seek to cause harm. And it unpicks that sense of togetherness.”

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