Woman, 26, shot dead as she celebrates Christmas Eve in pub

Police appeal for help after ‘incomprehensible’ tragedy

Furvah Shah
Monday 26 December 2022 09:50 GMT
Merseyside pub shooting: Woman killed in Wallasey was not targeted, police say

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Louise Thomas

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A 26-year-old woman killed when a gunman opened fire on a crowded pub on Christmas Eve was not the intended target, police said as they appealed for information about the “incomprehensible” tragedy.

The young woman was celebrating with her sister and friends at the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey, near Liverpool, when she was shot in the head at around 11.50pm.

Four men were wounded in the attack, including a 28-year-old man from Beechwood, Wirral, who remains in a critical condition.

Merseyside Police said they believe the gunman fired shots towards the front entrance of the pub. One neighbour who heard gunfire assumed it was the sound of celebratory fireworks for the festive season.

Police officers on duty at the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey Village, near Liverpool
Police officers on duty at the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey Village, near Liverpool (PA)

Minutes later, a dark-coloured vehicle – possibly an A-class Mercedes – was seen leaving the car park, the force said.

Detective Superintendent Sue Coombs told a press conference on Christmas Day: “Tragically the victim, a 26-year-old woman, had suffered a serious gunshot injury to her head.

“She was taken to Arrowe Park Hospital but sadly passed away shortly afterwards. Her family have been informed, and today, which should be a day with friends celebrating, they are coming to terms with this tragic loss.

“It’s very early stages of the investigation, but we do not believe that the victim in this case has been targeted. She was out enjoying Christmas with her sister and friends at what should have been a peaceful time. What her family are now going through is incomprehensible.”

Besides the man in critical condition, the three others injured include a 22-year-old man, also from Beechwood, with leg injuries, a 24-year-old man from Wallasey with a hand injury, and a 33-year-old man who suffered an injury to his wrist.

Ms Coombs said police were still trying to establish a motive for the “callous shooting” and asked anyone with information to come forward.

She said: “We believe that the gunman fired shots towards the front entrance of the pub. We know that minutes later, a dark-coloured vehicle, possibly an A-class Mercedes, was seen to leave the pub car park, so we are particularly keen to speak to that male and anybody who knows anything about that vehicle.

“We won’t rest until we find the people responsible for this terrible, terrible crime.”

A spokesperson for the Lighthouse said the shooting was “a tragedy beyond any words”, while Wirral Council leader Janette Williamson described it as “nothing less than despicable”.

Wallasey MP Dame Angela Eagle said the incident was “heartbreaking” and appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

Neighbour Jenny Hough, 77, said: “I heard the shots. I thought it was a firework actually, because it was nearly midnight. I just thought it was people celebrating midnight on Christmas Day.”

Jeffrey Hughes, minister at the United Reformed Church in Wallasey Village, said news of the shooting will have come as a shock.

He said: “Wallasey Village is a fairly lively area, it’s a nice part of Wallasey, its a nice part of the north end of the Wirral. We’ve got a lot of young people, families in that area. The Lighthouse is central in that community.

“It’s a shock. When we first heard the news this morning that there’d been a shooting in Wallasey, Wallasey Village is the last place you would think of.”

Additional reporting by PA

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