Crimestoppers is offering a record £200,000 reward for information to help catch the killer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.
A £100,000 sum was offered by a private donor, and the charity’s founder Lord Ashcroft has matched that for the biggest single reward offer in its history.
It comes a week after Lord Ashcroft offered a £50,000 reward through his charity in return for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for Olivia’s death.
The schoolgirl was killed when a masked gunman opened fire as he chased a convicted burglar through the door of the home she shared with her mother and two older siblings in Dovecot, Liverpool, at about 10pm on 22 August.
Her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door on the gunman before the bullet travelled behind her and hit Olivia in the chest.
The youngster was rushed to Alder Hey hospital in a critical condition but was later pronounced dead.
Her death followed months of growing tensions in the area and is thought to have been the latest incident in a series of tit-for-tat gang attacks.
Lord Ashcroft said: “This case has been incredibly shocking, not just for those who are directly affected, but also for Liverpool and the nation as a whole.
“I am delighted that with the support of a private donor, Crimestoppers can now offer a record £200,000 for information to catch Olivia's killer.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen, of Merseyside Police, provided the update on the investigation into Olivia’s death during a live press conference at the force’s headquarters in Liverpool on Wednesday.
Olivia was one of three people shot dead in the space of a week in Liverpool amid a rise in gun and knife crimes.
Council worker Ashley Dale, 28, was shot in her back garden in another part of the city in what police believe may have been a case of mistaken identity, while 22-year-old mechanic Sam Rimmer died after two people opened fire as he stood in the street with friends.
Nine people have now been arrested in connection with a range of offences related to the shooting of Olivia, including murder and assisting an offender. All have been bailed pending further inquiries.
DCS Kameen revealed that the intended target of the gun attack, convicted burglar Joseph Nee, is still in hospital.
“In relation to the man that was targeted in this attack – I can report that he remains in hospital and is continuing to be treated for his injuries. The timescales around how long he will remain in hospital are unclear at the moment.”
Merseyside police also released a picture of the type of gun they are looking for in connection with the murder, a .38 revolver. Officers confirmed the same weapon was used in a total of three separate incidents on Merseyside over the last two and a half years, and DCS Kameen voiced his belief that the weapon may still be in the same area of Liverpool.
“For the last two years it has exclusively been used in Dovecot. I would suggest that this gun has been stored somewhere in this area and may well still be there right now. I want people to tell us where these guns are now.”
People can contact Crimestoppers anonymously via its website or by calling 0800 555 111.