Family of murdered Ava White call for young people in Liverpool to leave knives at home

The family of a 12-year-old girl stabbed to death in Liverpool are urging young people in the city to leave knives at home.

Ava White was murdered in the street by a 14-year-old boy in a row over a Snapchat video on 25 November 2021.

She was in the city centre with friends to watch the Christmas lights switch-on.

The killing sent shock-waves throughout the community.

Ahead of the first anniversary of her death, her family told me: "Children shouldn't be losing their lives through knife crime."

Ava White (left) with her nan Sharon and cousins Ellamay, Ellis and Blake. Credit: Family handout

Ava came from a large but tight family.

Her mother, Leeann, has six sisters and it was with three of them that I met up to talk about the last 12 months and their hopes for the future.

The family has set up a foundation to educate youngsters about the dangers of knife crime and to raise money for more life-saving bleed packs in the city.

Ava's aunt June White expressed her frustration: "People are getting hurt aren't they?

"They're just choosing to leave the house with a knife in their pocket.

"I don't think they understand maybe the consequences and the ripple effect."

Ava White's aunts speak to Merseyside Correspondent Andy Bonner

The aunts will be spending the anniversary in private with Ava's mum and sister, Mia.

Demi White told me: "It's going to be unbearable.

"I couldn't imagine what Ava's mum is feeling when she's having a bad day every day."

Mia (left) said her and Ava could tell each other anything. Credit: Family handout

Mia and Demi have bravely started talking about their experience to young people on Merseyside.

Working with Danny's Place, a not-for-profit organisation set up by the mother of another teenager who died through knife crime, they are hoping their raw experience will spark change.

Founder Mandy Jamieson, who lost Daniel when he was just 16, believes more youth centres could be part of the answer but thinks the real solution starts at home.

"Parents, do you know where your children are?", she asked.

"Who they are hanging around with, what they're doing, and more importantly, have you checked your children?

"Because by doing so, you could save a child's life and people don't get that."

Ava with her cousin Ethan and, right, grandad Charlie Feeney. Credit: Family handouts

Merseyside Police said knife crime has reduced since Ava's death with the lowest figures in 18 months recorded in October 2022.

More than 190 knives and dangerous weapons were handed in to the force during a national week of action earlier this month.

Ava's killer, now aged 15, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 13 years at Liverpool Crown Court in July.

He cannot be named because of his age.

Another of Ava's aunts, Erica White, had a stark message for anyone thinking about taking a knife out onto the streets.

She said: "Just think about what you're doing before you make a massive mistake."