A young woman has been shot dead in a tragic case of mistaken identity, just seven years after her brother was killed in similar circumstances.
Ashley Dale, 28, was not the intended target when she was fatally gunned down in a Liverpool garden, shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 21.
Three men barged through her front door, and fired at Ashley on multiple occasions, the police revealed.
Merseyside Police were treating the shooting as a targeted attack but said Knowsley Council worker Ashley was not the person they were trying to hit.
Paramedics rushed to save her but she was pronounced dead a short while later in hospital.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen, head of investigations at Merseyside Police, told the Liverpool Echo : “Ashley lived there largely on her own, and what we know at this time is that the front door of that property was forced open by the offender or offenders outside. A firearm was then indiscriminately discharged on multiple occasions inside.
“Ashley was inside, exactly where she should be, enjoying her Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and she was hit by one of those shots. That proved fatal despite the very best efforts of Merseyside Police and then the North West Ambulance Service.
“Merseyside Police is incredibly shocked, both to have this crime and the fact is a second firearms discharge homicide in such a short space of time. We are supporting Ashley’s family as I am sure the communities recognise, and our thoughts go out to her mum, dad and wider family at this incredibly difficult time.”
It later emerged that Ashley’s younger brother, Lewis Dunne, 16, was also killed in a mistaken-identity shooting in 2015.
Lewis had been walking along the Leeds-Liverpool canal in Eldonian Village when he was mistaken for a member of a rival gang by brothers Paul and John Martin, and their accomplice, Jake Culshaw.
The trio mistook the innocent teen because he had similar curly hair to the man they were trying to attack.
The drug-dealing killers were sentenced to 88 years behind bars in November 2016 after Lewis died from a single shotgun blast exactly a year before.
His devastated mum Gemma Whitfield, told the court: “Lewis was my baby. I was 20 when he came into my life, young myself but already older than he would get to be.
“From the moment I held him in my arms I felt love. Lewis was the embodiment of what was good and right in this world.
“Despite being the baby of the family Lewis had an emotional maturity from a young age. Lewis was a gentle peace-loving boy, vibrant and oh so alive, but now he is dead.
“The pain and confusion he must have gone through… the confusion and the despair… it will never leave me, I will never be able to understand.
“Grief is a lonely place, grief caused by murder is even lonelier.
“For those of us who love him nothing has been the same since he was taken from us.”
At the time, Ms Whitfield even spoke of the effect of Lewis’ death on his big sister, Ashley.
She said: “I mourn my daughter’s loss of identity as a big sister… I have held my daughter in my arms as she wept for her only brother.”
Ashley is the first female victim of gun crime in the city for 17 years, following the death of Lucy Hargreaveswhow as also killed in a case of mistaken identity in 2005.