£200,000 reward offered in hunt for killer of Olivia Pratt-Korbel
1 year ago
A record £200,000 reward has been offered by Crimestoppers in the hunt for the killer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.
Last week the charity’s founder and chairman Lord Ashcroft put up £50,000 for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the schoolgirl’s death.
On Wednesday the reward was increased thanks to the offer of £100,000 from a private donor which the peer has matched.
Olivia was fatally shot in the chest in her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on Monday August 22.
Her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, was injured as the gunman chased convicted burglar Joseph Nee into their property at about 10pm.
Merseyside Police have arrested nine men as part of their investigation into her death but all have since been bailed.
Announcing Crimestoppers’s biggest single reward offer, Lord Ashcroft said: “This case has been incredibly shocking, not just for those who are directly affected but also for Liverpool and the nation as a whole.
“I am delighted that with the support of a private donor, Crimestoppers can now offer a record £200,000 for information to catch Olivia’s killer.
“A precious young life has been lost so we need every effort to find those involved in this appalling killing.”
Crimestoppers is independent of the police and takes information about crime completely anonymously.
The charity’s chief executive, Mark Hallas, said:
“If you’re too scared to speak to the police, please remember that our charity, Crimestoppers, is here to help you do the right thing.
“Tell Crimestoppers what you know whilst staying completely anonymous. Please understand: Crimestoppers has kept its promise to protect your identity since we started back in the late 1980s
“You can contact us via our website or call our UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111. Details about how to claim this reward are available online (www.crimestoppers-uk.org).
“When you contact Crimestoppers we never ask for or store personal details. All we ask is that you tell us what you know about who killed Olivia so that there can be some slow healing for her mother, her family, the city of Liverpool and everyone who has been touched by this truly awful murder.”
Below are the statements read out by Det Ch Supt Mark Kameen and Mick Duthie (Crimestoppers).
Det Chief Supt Mark Kameen
Good afternoon and thank you once again for your time today.
This latest press conference is once again intended to update you on the investigation into little Olivia’s murder. The investigation is now four and I want to try and quantify some aspects of the work that has been completed thus far.
I want to provide you with an update on the man that was targeted in the attack.
I also want to provide some updates around the guns which were used in this horrific attack.
Finally, I want to make an announcement in partnership with Mick Duthie from Crimestoppers, about a substantial reward that is being offered in respect of this investigation.
Investigative updates – as I have said previously, I will try and provide as much information as possible but there remain aspects of this investigation that I simply cannot release the details of for fear of damaging any future prosecution.
- So far the investigation has resulted in nine arrests for offences including murder and assisting an offender. All those arrested have been bailed pending further inquiries.I recognise that people will wonder why no one has been charged despite those arrests. If I could reassure you that this is normal practice in any complex investigation. The threshold for arresting someone is much lower than that for charging someone. Please have patience with us – the investigation is progressing, and the detectives involved in bringing justice for Olivia and her family are working tirelessly and with real care and passion to achieve the objective of securing charges against everyone involved in Olivia’s murder, no matter how small their role. The investigation is progressing well but, as always, I still need the support of our communities to inform us about what they know, what they’ve heard and what they’ve seen.
- I want to briefly try and quantify some aspects of the investigation and work of the team and their drive to secure sufficient evidence to charge those responsible – they have worked over 15,000 hours since Olivia’s murder; (this doesn’t include the work of the wider force, some of which I will touch on shortly). They are currently sifting through more than 2000 exhibits and trawling through thousands of hours of CCTV footage; 18 search warrants have been executed; and we have received, assessed and when appropriate responded to more than 400 intelligence submissions.I have previously stated that we will leave no stone unturned to identify and prosecute the toxic individual who “robbed” Olivia of her life and future and I utterly stand by that promise.
- In relation to the man that was targeted in this attack – I can report that he remains in hospital and is continuing to be treated for his injuries. The timescales around how long he will remain in hospital are unclear at the moment.
- Those involved in this abhorrent crime are poison in the community and we are continuing to bare our teeth and robustly target them. These people have crossed the line in every sense by shooting an innocent nine-year-old and we all have a responsibility to put all those involved behind bars. To that end officers from across the force are working relentlessly with officers from other forces to disrupt organised crime groups and in the last four weeks we made 678 arrests; carried out 1864 stop searches; seized 148 vehicles; executed 142 warrants and carried out 127 open land searches. I know that this activity continues to hamper, frustrate and disrupt those involved in serious and organised crime.
- Olivia’s Mum, Dad and wider family are still coming to terms with life without Olivia and it is heart breaking that this family have lost their little girl, who loved life and loved to laugh. Olivia’s Mum is still recovering her inury and this family will carry the trauma of losing Olivia with them for the rest of their lives, they need justice.
Firearms Update – I now want to update you all on the firearms used by the gunman.
Today I can tell you that through our work with the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), we have now identified the two types of gun used by the offender on the night of 22nd August.
One of those guns is a .38 revolver – This was the gun responsible for killing Olivia
The second gun is a Glock-type self-loading 9mm pistol and this is what it looks like. (image on screen at this point)
I can now confirm that this weapon has been used in a total of three separate incidents on Merseyside across a two-and-a-half-year period. This includes the attack on Kingsheath Ave on 22nd August that led to the murder of Olivia. Guns that are used on more than one occasion are referred to as ‘linked series’ weapons. This gun is therefore a linked series firearm. This is Linked Series 179
I now want to provide some information around the history of LS 179.
Move to Map
This Glock was first used in Wimbourne Close, Dovecot, on 27 January 2020 at 8.50pm. A 19-year-old man was targeted during that first incident and was injured as a result of it. Furthermore, and in shocking similarity to the circumstances leading to Olivia’s murder, one of the bullets also went through the front door of a house of an innocent member of the community. This attack could quite clearly have had far more dire consequences had someone been stood behind that door. This evidences the callous nature of those people in possession of this weapon. They have no regard for the safety or life of anyone else. They do not therefore deserve anyone’s loyalty.
The second incident happened on 8 August 2022 at 9.40pm, this time in Finch Way, Dovecot, which as you will see is just around the corner and only a short distance away from Olivia’s house. It is also only two weeks before Olivia’s murder.
On this occasion two rival groups, one in a car and the other on motorcycles, fired shots indiscriminately whilst near to some playing fields. This occurred in the middle of summer in an area where innocent local people would have been enjoying the park. Once again, as with the first time this weapon was used in our communities, we find that those in possession of it have no care, thought or loyalty for anyone else or their safety. Once again, they do not deserve anyone’s loyalty.
Just two weeks later it was used in the shooting at Kingsheath Avenue, along with a .38 revolver which we know is responsible for the fatal wounding of little Olivia.
These are incredibly dangerous weapons that are in the hand or hands of people that don’t care about anyone else. Therefore, why should you show them any loyalty? We know that one of these guns has been used in three separate incidents and I am determined to take these weapons off our streets, before they can maim or kill anyone else.
Looking at the locations where this gun has been used on the map, it is very clear to me that the gun is owned and controlled by an individual or group of individuals in this immediate area. For the last two years it has exclusively been used in Dovecot. I would suggest that this gun has been stored somewhere in this area and may well still be there right now. I want people to tell us where these guns are now.
Sadly, and unbelievably, during this investigation I have been disgusted by a small number of individuals who are determined to thwart the investigation, protect the key individuals involved and try and ensure that little Olivia and her family do not receive the justice they deserve. This just shows the type of people we are dealing with. However, they won’t be successful, and we will prosecute them too.
Being involved with this gunman and anything to do with this horrendous murder will leave a stain on you for life. I have no doubts that when you are charged and convicted that you will be regarded with absolute disgust by your family, your friends and your communities. Your loyalty to this man is utterly misplaced and it will cost you.
Clearly the gunman doesn’t want us to find these guns because it may link him back to them and thereby Olivia’s murder.
However, and as I have already stated in previous press conferences, this man is utterly toxic to our communities. Nobody wants this man around them or where they live. Nobody wants to be associated with him. Some people may tolerate him through fear, but even those people, given the choice, would want him locked away. With your support we can make this happen.
Someone, somewhere, knows where these weapons are hidden and I want to know where they are. So once again, I am asking you for your help in finding these guns.
I understand that people may be reluctant or fearful to provide this information to the police and therefore I now want those people to listen very carefully to what Mick Duthie from Crime stoppers is about to talk to you about.
Mick Duthie statement
Thank you, Mark.
Firstly, on behalf of everyone at Crimestoppers, I wish to pass on our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Olivia who have suffered such a terrible loss.
As the Director of Operations at the charity Crimestoppers, I want to explain how our charity helps to keep communities safe and allows people to pass information to the police, completely anonymously.
Crimestoppers is an independent charity. We are not the police or BBC Crimewatch, the TV programme. Crimestoppers, stands alone to help keep communities safe, giving people a safe option when speaking up about crime.
Our charity has been around for almost 35 years. In that time, we have received from the public and passed to the police millions of pieces of information that have helped solve often high-profile crimes and prevented others from taking place.
It’s important for me to stress that over all those decades, Crimestoppers has kept our 100% guarantee of anonymity. We never record calls or ask for your personal details. All incoming phone calls are scrambled, so we can never call you back or use 1471 to know who you are.
We never ask why you call or where you are. All we want is for you to do the right thing and give us your information.
We note what you say – not who you are – and then make sure it contains nothing that might possibly identify you. We then pass on your information securely to police forces across the UK.
The police know that we can’t give them personal details about those contacting us because we don’t have them in the first place. That anonymity – protecting your identity – is central to how Crimestoppers, as a charity, works for you.
More and more people now contact us via our website using our secure online reporting form. Crimestoppers offers the same protection or guarantee of anonymity that applies when you phone us to those who prefer to contact us via our website. We never get your IP address so we can’t come back to you or pass on your contact details onto the police. Your free call to us will never appear on your phone bills. If it’s important that your device is clean for your own protection, then please delete your call history or browser history after passing on what you know.
We are extremely grateful to our founder Lord Ashcroft for putting up the intial £50,000 reward to encourage people to come forward and we know that this is helping. Like our phone and online reporting service, our rewards process is also completely anonymous. You just need to request a reward code. More details about how to claim a reward are available on our website.
So, to reiterate, you will always stay anonymous. This applies when you pass the information on to us, and – if your information leads to a conviction or recovery of the weapon – you will stay anonymous when claiming the reward thanks to a unique reward code.
We never know who we pay our rewards to and therefore neither do the police.
Like everyone across the country, we want those responsible for the murder of Olivia to be brought to justice. Therefore, today, I can announce that Lord Ashcroft, has raised his offer from £50,000 to £100,000. On top of that, I want to announce that due to the generosity of another donor, who wishes to remain private at this time, we are raising our combined reward to a new total of up to £200,000.
This reward is available for information leading to the conviction of those involved in Olivia’s murder or other associated crimes, including firearms offences.
To be eligible for this reward, you must contact Crimestoppers on either freephone 0800-555-111 or by visiting our charity’s website Crimestoppers hyphen uk dot org.
Of course if, like the majority of people who contact Crimestoppers, you are content to say what you know without claiming, then we are ready for your call, but the offer of £200,000 remains to help solve this crime.
This reward – the largest reward Crimestoppers has ever been able to make – is being offered by our charity and not the police. So, you can only claim if you come to us. We will then safely and securely pass on your information to the police who can do their work.
You will have done the right thing. You will have helped solved this horrendous crime and prevented others suffering. You can find out more by visiting our charity’s website – Crimestoppers hyphen uk dot org. If you know something, please contact us. Thank you for your time.
Back to Det Chief Supt Mark Kameen
Mick, many thanks. My thanks also to Crimestoppers and especially to those benefactors who have provided the reward.
Now its up to you to do the right thing for Olivia and her family.
As Mick has said, you can report where those guns are, or indeed any other information, totally anonymously to crime stoppers, and we the police will not know who has provided that information. But crucially we will be able to respond to it.
There is a £200,000 reward available – the largest reward in crime stoppers history – and all you need to do is anonymously provide the information to help us convict the man responsible.
We have the opportunity to work together and remove these toxic people from our communities – so please tell us where those guns are now. Let us go and recover them so they can never be used again.
A simple anonymous phone call or online report could remove this man and the guns he has used from our communities. He will never know who has contacted crimestoppers and neither will we the police.
No-one should shoot a child and not face justice – silence is not an option for anyone.