LIVERPOOL, England – Police in Liverpool launched a murder inquiry Monday after a 12-year-old girl was killed in the city center.
Poppy-Rose McCandless was found dead at the scene, outside Wigan House on Broadgreen Street, on Sunday night.
She is the third 12-year-old child to be killed in the northern England city this year.
Detective Superintendent Colin Brock, head of major investigation teams at Merseyside Police, said at a press conference on Monday: “The circumstances are currently being investigated as suspicious and a murder inquiry has been launched.”
He said officers were making initial inquiries to establish the “circumstances” of the death, and that they were not seeking anyone else in connection with Poppy-Rose’s death.
“The circumstances are currently being investigated as suspicious and a murder inquiry has been launched.” – Det. Supt. Colin Brock
Officers were called to the scene by ambulance crews at 6.55 p.m. GMT and found the girl in a critical condition. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7.20 p.m. GMT.
Poppy-Rose, who was a pupil at Kingsdale Primary School, is the third child to have been killed by a random offender in the Liverpool area in less than a year.
A 12-year-old girl, Cherrelle Rogers, was stabbed to death last month on a nearby street. In January, 12-year-old Georgina Best, a pupil at Collyhurst primary school, was fatally hit by a bus in the same city center.
In a statement released via police on Monday, Poppy-Rose’s family said: “It is with the greatest sadness that we can confirm that Poppy-Rose passed away last night. She touched the lives of everyone she met and her smile lit up the room.
“She was a member of 4K, a local charity for youngsters, and a tireless campaigner for the needy and those in need. Her memory will live on in the hearts of her family and friends.
“We would ask everyone to keep our family in their thoughts at this incredibly difficult time.”
Before Poppy-Rose’s death, police were aware of 13 unsolved homicides involving children and young people in the city. Most of the crimes involved teenage girls.
In November 2016, police arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the disappearance of Poppy-Rose’s best friend, Cilla Bowler, who was aged 16 when she was reported missing. Cilla’s body was found in a canal three days later.
Merseyside Police said on Monday that it would not confirm a report on local radio station Radio Merseyside that the boy was a member of the Liverpudlian football team’s youth set-up.
According to Merseyside Radio, some have speculated that Sunday’s attack may have been retribution for the baseball bat attack in January on a group of young footballers.
Police said that with its latest death, the total number of murders in Merseyside has reached 55 for 2017, making it the highest homicide rate in the country.
In April, Chris McManus, who became the youngest person in British history to be convicted of murder last year, was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison.