A 14-year-old boy has appeared in court charged with the murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl in Liverpool.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at Liverpool Magistrates' Court, sitting as a youth court, charged with the murder of 12-year-old Ava White and possession of a bladed article.
He wore a grey tracksuit and sat in the dock for the five-minute hearing.
District Judge Wendy Lloyd remanded him in secure accommodation to appear at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday.
Detectives investigating the murder of 12-year-old Ava White in Liverpool City Centre on Thursday night, 25 November, charged the teenager on Sunday evening.
Ava had been in the city with friends on Thursday following a Christmas lights switch-on when she suffered "catastrophic injuries" in an assault at 8.39pm, Merseyside Police said.
Image:Merseyside Police / SWNS)
Ava, who has been described as "popular" and "bright", was involved in a "verbal argument" which escalated into an "assault on her with a knife", police said.
A 14-year-old boy was charged with murder and possession of a bladed article and appeared in court today.
Three other boys arrested have been conditionally bailed as extensive enquiries continue, police said.
On Friday, flowers were laid on Church Street in tribute to the Notre Dame Catholic College pupil, as forensics officers and police searched the scene.
A balloon was left by 17-year-old Lacey, who did not want to give her surname, who said her younger sister had been close friends with Ava.
She said: "She was just a bubbly character, so loving and caring.
"She came out with her friends to enjoy herself and I think it's just wrong that this has happened."
Headteacher Peter Duffy said: "She was an incredibly popular girl with a fantastic group of friends."
Assistant Chief Constable Ngaire Waine said the incident was "sad for the city" but "even sadder" for Ava's family.
Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs said: “We’re continuing to support Ava’s family, and they have requested that their privacy continues to be respected at this difficult time.
“It’s also vitally important as we continue the investigation that nobody posts comments or names on social media which could potentially impact upon us getting justice for Ava’s family. Please trust us that we are doing all we can to investigate and update people on this tragic incident, and we do not want anything to jeopardise this.
“We’d also urge anyone else who has captured the incident or aftermath to send any images/footage directly via the following link: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/05MP21M43-PO1
You can pass information on with reference 21000820789 via ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre' on Facebook, 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.