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Gunman Thomas Cashman who shot dead Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, jailed for at least 42 years

Gunman Thomas Cashman who shot dead Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, jailed for at least 42 years

ABONE OL
3 Nisan 2023 17:10
Gunman Thomas Cashman who shot dead Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, jailed for at least 42 years
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The man who shot and killed Liverpool schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel has been sentenced to life with a minimum of 42 years for her murder.

Gunman Thomas Cashman, 34, fired shots into the nine-year-old’s family home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on 22 August 2022, during what prosecutors described as a “ruthless pursuit” to execute another man.

He was found guilty of Olivia’s murder last week, and the wounding with intent of her mother, Cheryl Korbel.

A jury also found him guilty of the attempted murder of Joseph Nee, a convicted drug dealer who he had chased into Olivia‘s home before opening fire, and two counts of possession of a firearm.

The sentencing means Cashman will be aged in his mid-70s before he is even considered for parole.

He was not in court for the sentencing. His lawyer John Cooper KC said he did not attend because he was aware the CPS were singing We Are The Champions following the verdict in the 19-day trial.

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Thomas Cashman, 34, who has been found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel and injuring her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, at their family home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22 last year. Issue date: Thursday March 30, 2023.

Image:
Thomas Cashman

Mr Cooper said: “He has been spoken to and been given certain advice but he is concerned that the matter is turning into a circus.”

The judge, Mrs Justice Yip, said she regarded his lack of attendance as “disrespectful” to not only the court but those interested in proceedings, including the family of the deceased.

Also in court, Olivia’s mother, Cheryl Korbel, read out an impact statement in which she said her daughter was “loved by everyone” and “never stopped talking”.

Ms Korbel cried as she explained Olivia was due to have her hair cut to donate it to sick children but was killed just five days before the appointment.

“I just miss hearing her voice… I would give anything in the world to have her chatting to me,” she said.

Ms Korbel explained that while the trial has been going on, her nan was admitted to hospital – and she died last night.

She said she believed her nan was holding on to hear Cashman being found guilty.

She described Olivia as her “shadow” and ended her statement by saying her family will love her “endlessly”.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Olivia’s teenage sister Chloe Korbel also read out a statement in which she said the nine-year-old “was the best friend I had always wanted”.

“We were so close, as I was not only her big sister but I’d look after her when our mum was working.”

She said the day Olivia was killed was the worst of her life.

“Not only did I lose my baby sister, but I lost my best friend,” she said.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel

A statement was read on behalf of Olivia’s father, John Pratt, in which he said about Cashman: “I want you to know that you’ve changed my life and my family’s life forever.

“I have nightmares about how she died, and the nightmares won’t go away.”

He added: “I am heartbroken. Sometimes I just want to end it so that I can be with Olivia again.

“You have denied my beautiful girl Olivia her future.”

The convictions came after the trial, during which the court heard Cashman admit to operating as a “high-level” cannabis dealer in the Dovecot area.

Cashman had been “scoping out” Nee on the day of the murder, and lay in wait for him, armed with two guns as he watched a football match at a friend’s house.

In footage played to the jury, the gunman was seen chasing Nee up Kingsheath Avenue and firing three shots.

He then followed his target towards the open door of Olivia’s home, where Ms Korbel had come out to see what the noise was, and fired the fatal shot into the property.

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The court heard Olivia had come down the stairs saying: “Mummy, I’m scared.”

The bullet hit Ms Korbel in the wrist as she tried to shut the door and struck Olivia in the chest. She died in hospital.

Read more:Brother recounts moment gunman tried to force his way inMoral codes ‘have gone out the window’, says ex-gangster

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Olivia’s mum ‘ecstatic’ outside court

Olivia’s death shocked the city, leading to a desperate police appeal for help to find who was responsible.

Speaking outside court last week, Ms Korbel said she was “ecstatic” at the guilty verdict.

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