The family of 12-year-old Ava White, who died after being stabbed in Liverpool city centre, say they are ‘completely devastated and heartbroken’ by her death.
Ava was out with friends for the Christmas lights switch-on last Thursday when she suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ in an assault at 8.39pm, Merseyside Police said.
In a statement, her father Robert Martin said: ‘We would like to say thank you to everybody for their ongoing support during this devastating time.
‘Thank you to every one of you for your kind messages and donations.
‘As Ava’s family, we are completely devastated and heartbroken by what has happened and we ask that you respect our privacy at this time and allow us to grieve as a family.’
Police said Ava and her friends were involved in a ‘verbal argument’ with a group of boys before she was attacked.
Paramedics attended the scene and she was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in critical condition, where she died a short time later.
A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been charged with her murder.
He appeared in court via video-link on Wednesday, and was also charged with possession of a bladed article. He was remanded in secure accommodation until a plea hearing on February 18.
Honorary Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary QC, listed the case for trial on May 16 and said it was likely to last for two to three weeks.
Ava, who attended Notre Dame Catholic College in Everton, was described as ‘an incredibly popular girl with a fantastic group of friends’ by her head teacher Peter Duffy.
Three other boys, aged between 13 and 15, who were also arrested in connection with the stabbing, have been conditionally bailed as inquiries continue.