Thomas Cashman: Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer jailed for life

Olivia Pratt-Korbel
The bullet that killed Olivia was fired through the front door of her home (Image: Family Handout)

The man who murdered nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 42 years in prison.

Thomas Cashman, 34, refused to go into the dock for the sentencing and none of his family were present in court.

He fatally shot Olivia and injured her mother Cheryl Korbel as he chased a fellow drug dealer into their Liverpool home on the evening of 22 August 2022.

The judge said his failure to appear was “disrespectful” to Olivia’s family.

John Cooper KC, defending, said Cashman had not attended the hearing as he claimed the Crown Prosecution Service were singing “we are the champions” following his conviction.

He said Cashman was concerned proceedings were “turning into a circus”.

Sentencing him in absentia at Manchester Crown Court, Mrs Justice Amanda Yip said drug dealer Cashman was “not of previous good character”, had made it clear he was a criminal and had “demonstrated no remorse”.

“His failure to come into court is further evidence of that,” she said.

Thomas Cashman
Thomas Cashman was convicted following a trial, which lasted more than three weeks

 

She said Cashman “relentlessly pursued” Joseph Nee into Olivia’s home, where the schoolgirl had left her bed after hearing the commotion.

“She came downstairs to seek the comfort of her mother,” she said.

“Her last words were ‘Mum, I’m scared’.

“In a terrible twist of fate, she had stepped directly into the line of fire.”

The judge said she had considered handing down a whole-life order, meaning Cashman would never be released from prison, but had decided it was not merited because the planning and premeditation in his attack was not directed at Olivia.

She also praised the bravery of a woman who gave evidence against Cashman, who was granted lifetime anonymity.

Earlier in the hearing, Ms Korbel was in tears as she clutched a teddy bear made from her daughter’s pyjamas while giving her victim impact statement in the witness box.

“I cannot get my head around how Cashman continued to shoot after hearing the terrified screams and utter devastation he had caused,” she said.

“He doesn’t care.

“His actions have left the biggest hole in our lives.”

Ms Korbel told the court life was “so very quiet” without her daughter, adding: “I just can’t cope with the silence.”

She said she spent every afternoon thinking about the end of the school day and her “sassy, chatty girl who everyone adored” adding: “My mind keeps telling me that I’ve forgotten to pick her up from school.”

She added that Olivia’s grandmother had died on Sunday night, but had thankfully “lived long enough to see that coward found guilty”.

Olivia’s father John Pratt told the court he was “heartbroken” and had “nightmares about how she died [that] won’t go away”.

Speaking directly to the absent Cashman, he said: “You have denied my beautiful girl Olivia her future.

“I will never see her on her wedding day, and walk her down the aisle… and see her grow into the beautiful woman she was destined to become.

“We have been robbed of her future. Because of you, she will be forever nine.”

Cashman, who told the court he made up to £5,000 every week from dealing cannabis in Liverpool, was found guilty of murdering Olivia after a trial which lasted more than three weeks.

The jury heard 36-year-old Nee was the intended target of the attack and Cashman, armed with two guns, had been “lying in wait” for his fellow drug dealer.

Nee had run towards the open door of Olivia’s home after her mother went out to see what the noise was, the court heard.

However, when she realised it was gunshots, she ran back into her house and tried to close the door to keep the strangers out, but Cashman shot again.

The bullet went through the door and Ms Korbel’s hand, before hitting Olivia in the chest.

Cashman, a father-of-two, denied being the gunman and had claimed he was at a friend’s house counting £10,000 in cash and smoking cannabis at the time of the attack.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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