Woman shot by police ‘came running at us with this knife’

A shaken-up mum says a knife-wielding woman – later shot by police – was in "touching distance" of her 10-year-old daughter.

Becky O'Reilly was making the short walk to her sister's home in Toxteth when she says she and her child were approached by the woman.

The 30-year-old watched as she pursued a teenager or young man on his bike, apparently t hreatening to attack him with the weapon.

But when he cycled away, on North Hill Street, just before 2pm on Thursday, the woman started to follow Ms O'Reilly and her young daughter, very closely, for about 15 seconds, they reported.

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Later, after the mum-of-one had escaped to her sister's home and locked the door, the woman was shot in the lower abdomen by police.

The suspect, in her 50s, is currently fighting for her life in hospital where her condition is described as critical.

Police Scientific Support at the scene on North Hill Street.

Ms O'Reilly today told the ECHO: "We were walking and the lad came up on a bike and she was shouting all kinds of abuse to him, saying she was going to stab him and all sorts.

"And then as I carried on walking across the road and she's come behind us, she was chasing back and forward like she didn't know where she was going.

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"She came running at us then with this knife.

"She was poking it, as she's running towards us she was looking at the floor.

"I just stopped, she was poking the knife towards saying, 'I'll stab yas, I'll stab yas.'

"So…we just ran to my sister's.

Officer in Toxteth after woman was shot by police

"And she came back and was shouting at us…

"It was a big knife, it wasn't like a kitchen life, it was a long blade.

"She was in touching distance of us.

"I just don't think she was herself."

Police approached the woman which led to an officer discharging one shot at her, which struck her lower abdomen.

A Taser device was also fired.

A police watchdog spokesman has confirmed: "At this stage we understand that officers were responding to reports of a woman, who was armed with a knife and acting in a threatening manner."

Police Scientific Support at the scene on North Hill Street.

Ms O'Reilly added: "The lad was just on his bike, he wasn't saying anything or going near her.

"She came round the back of me and my daughter, then I thought, 'oh, here we go, it's our turn.'

"I said, 'I'm sure she'll go away.'

"She was right behind us for about 15 seconds. She came in front of us and carried on interfering.

"When she was behind me and my daughter, she was saying, "'I'm gonna stab yas, ha ha ha.'

"I didn't see the knife at that point so I thought she was joking.


"I didn't walk too quickly in case she thought I was going to run at her or something so I just hurried up a little bit."

The two police officers involved have been spoken to by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigators who are leading the enquiry.

They are being treated as witnesses, the watchdog said, and their body cams have been obtained for examination.

Ms O'Reilly, a bakery worker, has spoken to police and provided a statement.

She said: "Last night, I closed my eyes and was thinking of all the worst things that could have happened, what if she'd stabbed me and my daughter in the street.

"Or what if she had got that lad in front of my child and she had seen it all.

Superintendant Diane Pownall,from Merseyside Police,speaking to a local resident.

"She's only 10, she's not used to being out and seeing that.

"My daughter is alright, she was jumping a bit in her sleep last night.

"I stayed up late to watch her, she had a little bit of a nightmare, and she's still shaky this morning."

Efforts are ongoing to trace the woman's next of kin who is believed to live around the same Toxteth area.

A video emerged of the handcuffed woman lying on the ground, after being shot, in which she faintly talks to officers helping her.

Constables and other emergency workers give her assistance, and an oxygen tube is produced.

Toxteth after the police shooting

One officer repeatedly tells watching members of the public to "get back."

IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe said: "This is a tragic incident and my thoughts are with all those affected by the events yesterday.

"We hope to meet with the woman’s family in due course to explain our role and offer our support.

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“Our role when someone is seriously injured as the result of police action, is to establish all of the circumstances surrounding how this incident occurred.

“We have already obtained CCTV footage from the area, the police officer’s body worn video, and have taken initial accounts from the two officers involved in the incident.

"They are both being treated as witnesses.

“We are continuing to gather evidence and are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident and may have witnessed something.”

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"We would appeal to anyone who witnessed the incident to contact us and assist with our independent investigation.

"Witnesses can call us on 0300 30 30 771 or email northhillst@policeconduct.gov.uk