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Man found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Man found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel

ABONE OL
30 Mart 2023 15:50
Man found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel
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A self-confessed drug dealer has been convicted of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel at her home in Liverpool last August.

Thomas Cashman, 34, was found guilty of murder by a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

Olivia died after a gunman fired shots into the family’s home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on 22 August 2022, during what prosecutors described as a “ruthless pursuit” to execute another man.

Strictly embargoed until conviction. Source: Merseyside Police

Image:
Thomas Cashman

Her death sent a shockwave throughout the community and across the country and a sense of horror that gun violence could spill into a family home.

After the verdict, Merseyside’s chief constable Serena Kennedy described Cashman as a “coward”.

She said: “He’s despicable. He made great play in the trial that he’s a dad and yet he’s put Olivia’s family through this trial. I hope he reflects every morning when he wakes up behind bars and every night when he goes to sleep about what he’s put Olivia’s family through.”

Olivia Pratt-Korbel

Image:
Olivia Pratt-Korbel

In a separate trial, a man has admitted to driving Cashman away from an address, where he fled after the shooting last August, and disposing of his clothing.

Paul Russell, 41, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender at Liverpool Crown Court last October. The media were prevented from reporting his plea until the conclusion of Cashman’s trial.

He is also said to have disposed of a bag given to him by Cashman, which he believed to contain clothing.

‘Murder in mind’

In Cashman’s trial, the jury was told he had spent the day of Olivia’s killing “scoping out” his intended target, a convicted burglar called Joseph Nee. The prosecution said he had “murder in mind”.

The jury was shown security camera footage of the moment Cashman fired multiple shots at Nee in the street outside of Olivia’s home.

After hearing the disturbance, her mother Cheryl Korbel had opened the front door and Nee took the opportunity to force his way inside to escape the gunman.

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

The gunman continued firing into the family home, with one bullet striking Ms Korbel in the hand before hitting Olivia in the chest. She was pronounced dead in hospital.

Cheryl Korbel, mother of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, arrives at Manchester Crown Court for the trial of Thomas Cashman, who is charged with murdering her daughter, who was shot in her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22. Picture date: Monday March 6, 2023.

Image:
Olivia's mother, Cheryl Korbel

Detective Superintendent Mark Baker, the senior investigating officer in the case, told Sky News: “The circumstances around it were just abhorrent. She was cowering behind her mum because she was scared in her own home.

“You always feel you’re safe in your own house. I think, as an investigation team, we could not believe that the gunman would continue to shoot into the house. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like that before.

“The community have been disgusted by his actions. They’ve been in fear of him for a long, long time. He will know himself and will have to carry that responsibility.”

The jury was also shown a video of the police interview with Ms Korbel in which she recounted what happened that night and described the moment she knew Olivia “had gone”.

A key witness in the trial, a woman with whom Cashman had had a sexual relationship, told the jury that she was woken by him in her bedroom shortly after the shooting asking for a change of clothes. She said she also heard him say he had “done Joey”.

Police praised the bravery of the witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, for her “powerful and emotional” evidence.

Read more:Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s mother walks out of courtBrother recounts moment gunman tried to force his way into family home

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‘I’m a dad, I’m not a killer’

Cashman had denied he was the gunman that night and told police “you’ve got an innocent man” when he was arrested a month later.

Giving evidence to the jury, he said he had been going about his business as a drug dealer at the time of the shooting. “I’m a dad, I’m not a killer,” he told the jury.

The two firearms used by the gunman on the night in August last year have not been recovered and the investigation into Olivia’s death continues.

Police have vowed to continue to remove guns and drugs from the street. “Olivia’s death should not have been in vain,” said Det Supt Baker.

Thomas Cashman social picture

Image:
Thomas Cashman

Maria Corr, a senior crown prosecutor with the CPS Mersey-Cheshire complex casework unit, told Sky News: “We’re only a small wheel in the cog here, nothing will bring Olivia back, this is just for the family, some sense of justice, the person who ruined their lives, we’ve now got justice for them.”

At the time of her death, Olivia’s family described her as “unique, chatty, nosey little girl who broke the mould when she was born”. They added: “She loved life and all it had to offer.

“Although her life was short, her personality certainly wasn’t and she lived it to the most she could, and would blow people away with her wit and kindness.”

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