The families living in fear after death of Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Liverpool

Credit: Family / PA Images

A little girl in a pretty dress with her hair in ringlets approaches the police officer at the cordon. She’s holding her mum’s hand and  carrying a bunch of flowers.

The officer smiles, thanks her and adds them to the towering pile of cuddly toys and bouquets left in memory of Olivia Pratt-Korbel.

It’s been over a week since the nine-year-old was gunned down in her own home.

An act of sickening violence that shocked the nation, but in Dovecot, the area of Liverpool where Olivia lived and died, that shock is being matched by ongoing fear. 

Fear of a killer still on the run; fear it could be them or someone they love next and fear that Olivia’s needless death won’t change anything.

I’ve been here several times since news of Olivia’s murder broke. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who will share their theories of what they think happened and who might be responsible, but it’s all off the record.

As one young mum told me, “If you printed my name or showed my face on camera - I’d be a walking target.

"It’s not about grassing. It's about keeping my kids safe. If I knew anything I’d tell the police."

Flowers and cuddly toys continue to be placed near to the home of Olivia Pratt-Korbel

I’m visiting The Drive community centre at the end of Kingsheath Avenue - just metres away from Olivia’s home.

Now, as well as running a well used food bank - they’re holding therapy sessions for local families. Children traumatised by thoughts of “a bad man who killed a little girl."

Families worried about their safety and struggling to explain the senseless killing of a child to their own children.

Children are being encouraged to confide in Barbara the Worry Monster

The kids are encouraged to share their worries with “Barbara the Worry Monster” - a bright green, one eyed cuddly toy or write down their worries and post them in the worry box

Nicola, the therapist from Strengthening Wellbeing Together who led the session, tells me about one little boy who wrote, "I’m worried about somebody breaking into my house and hurting me."

On a visit to Liverpool last week the Home Secretary announced the allocation of £150,000 to fund trauma and mental health support for those closely affected by the recent attacks and for nearby schools.

No information on how or when it's being distributed has been given.

Peter Mitchell, a local councillor who is the chief executive of the charity Big Help Project who run The Drive, is hopeful they’ll  be one of the recipients, but says people can’t afford to wait for help and that’s why they’re stepping in now.

"People need immediate support," he says. "That’s why we’re running these therapy and well being sessions now. We’re also here to provide some community reassurance."

Peter Mitchell from the charity The Big Help Project says families in Dovecot need help now

Within hours of Olivia’s murder, staff at The Drive had appealed on social media for any information from the community - offering to pass it on to the police themselves if people wanted to remain anonymous.

Peter said: "I know we’ve heard a lot about this anti-grass culture but everyone I have spoken to has very strong feelings about what happened. People want this person caught and off our streets.

"There’s been a lot of speculation about various 'players' and whether what happened is linked to other recent incidents but I am not going to play detective.

"All we can do as the wider community is pass on anything we know and let the police do their jobs.”