Police named the woman who was shot dead in a pub in Merseyside on Christmas Eve as Elle Edwards.

The 26-year-old was celebrating the festive season with her sister and friends when she was shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire in the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey Village.

The beautician was not the target of the shooting, in which four men were also injured, police said. A 28-year-old man remained in a critical condition in hospital.

Staff at the Nova Hair and Beauty Studio, the beauty salon where Edwards worked, said they were “absolutely lost for words” following her death.

Writing on Instagram, they added: “Heaven gained the most beautiful angel. We are all heartbroken, thinking of all of your family right now Elle.

On Sunday, Christmas Day, Merseyside police opened a murder investigation and appealed for anyone with information about the shooting, which happened in “busy venue full of young people”, to come forward.

Police were called to the scene at 11.50pm on 24 December shortly after the gunman fled in a dark vehicle, believed to be a Mercedes.

Detectives said they had received an “overwhelming response”, particularly from witnesses to the events, but they will be relying heavily on information provided by the public.

In a press conference the day after the murder, Det Supt Sue Coombs, who is leading the investigation, said: “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 the 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. At this stage of the investigation we are trying to establish the motive and circumstances surrounding this callous shooting.”

The Lighthouse said it was assisting police with inquiries and had handed them CCTV footage of the murder.

The pub’s managers said the shooting was “a tragedy beyond any words”, adding: “All our thoughts are with the friends and family of our customers, and in particular our hearts go out to the family of our customer who has lost her life.”

Original Article