Man accused of murdering of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9 ‘lay in wait’

The trial of the man accused of killing nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel has begun at Manchester Crown Court. Thomas Cashman, 34 denies the murder of Olivia, and further charges of attempted murder and the wounding with intent of Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel. Olivia was shot at her home in Dovecot, Liverpool in August last year after a gunman chased a burglar, a man called Joseph Nee, into their home. Cashman of Grenadier Drive, West Derby, Liverpool, also denies two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Ms Korbel was present at the opening day of the trial alongside members of Olivia’s family.

Armed police surrounded the court building as a police escort arrived with Cashman.

Opening the trial, David McLachlan KC, prosecuting told the court that on the night of the murder Cashman “lay in wait” for Nee with two loaded firearms, Liverpool Echo reports.

He told the jury that Nee was “without doubt the intended target”.

The jury was shown CCTV stills of the person following Nee, who the prosecution say is Cashman.

Mr McLachlan said: “He does not accept that that was him.”

The prosecution claims Cashman was “relentless” in his pursuit for Nee and “was not going to give up”.

The court was shown CCTV of the moment Cashman chased Nee and three load bangs were heard. 

Mr McLachlan said three shots were fired, at least one of which hit Nee in the midriff.

He told the court Nee stumbled and Cashman tried to shoot him again but for some reason, possibly because his self-loading pistol malfunctioned, was “unable to complete his task”.

Mr McLachlan said: “His task, the prosecution say, was to kill Joseph Nee.”

Nee ran away from Cashman when Ms Korbel heard the gunshots and opened the front door, to which Nee made a dash towards.

A gunshot intended for Nee, missed and went through the front door. 

Mr McLachlan said: “That fourth likely shot passed through the door, it then passed through Cheryl Korbel’s right hand as she was no doubt trying to shut the door. The bullet then went into the chest of Cheryl Korbel’s daughter Olivia Pratt-Korbel.”

Emergency services attended the scene and Olivia was rushed to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

Opening the prosecution’s case, Mr McLachlan said: “This is what this case is all about. This is serious business, as you will appreciate.

“It is about the ruthless pursuit by Thomas Cashman to shoot Joseph Nee at all costs without any consideration for anyone else in the community.

“Such was the planning and ruthless nature of this attack that Thomas Cashman, we say, went armed and was in possession of two loaded firearms.

Following her death, Olivia’s family described her as a “unique, chatty, nosey little girl who broke the mould when she was born”.

They said: “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.”

The trial continues and is expected to last four weeks.

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