Thomas Cashman has today, Monday 3 April, been jailed for life – to serve a minimum of 42 years – for the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel.
Following an 18-day trial at Manchester Crown Court, Cashman, 34, of Grenadier Drive, West Derby, was found guilty of murder, attempted murder, the wounding of Olivia’s mum Cheryl and two firearms offences.
He was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 42 years for murder. He was also jailed for 22 years for attempted murder, 10 years for wounding and 18 years each for the two firearms offences. The sentences will run concurrently.
Justice Yip said during her sentencing remarks, “The killing of Olivia shocked not only the city of Liverpool but also the nation.
“Her family have spoken today of Olivia’s life and the hopes and dreams of her future which were so cruelly snatched away. Olivia’s name is likely to be remembered for many years, but her name should not only be remembered for her terrible last moments. It’s plain Olivia was a lovely little girl who brightened the lives of her family and friends. They have suffered an unimaginable loss they must carry for the rest of their lives.”
On the role played by the anonymous witness, Justice Yip added: “Her evidence was significant. She chose to do the right thing. She was subjected to lengthy questions about intimate details by the defence but she stood strong. Her courage should be applauded.”
Speaking after the sentencing senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Mark Baker said, “We welcome today’s sentence which reflects the severity of the crime committed by Thomas Cashman and he now has a long time behind bars to contemplate his actions. In fact, he won’t be out until he’s a very old man.
“We heard earlier from Cheryl, Chloe and John [Olivia’s family] of the devastating impact her death has had on all families and friends. Today’s sentence will never bring Olivia back.
“I again thank the witness who assisted in bringing justice for Olivia family. She did the correct thing, and she should be proud of herself.
“The courage and bravery of Olivia’s family and our witness is in direct contrast to the cowardice shown by Thomas Cashman.
“I hope that the sentence of 42 years given to Cashman today will act as a deterrent for anyone who thinks of picking up a gun and putting our communities at risk through their reckless behaviour.
“This has been a challenging, complex, and emotional enquiry. I want to thank and praise the commitment, dedication, and sheer determination of the investigation team as they pursued the truth.
“I also want to thank our prosecuting barristers Mr David McLachlan KC and Mr Henry Riding.
“I reserve special thanks to Maria Corr from the Crown Prosecution Service for her professionalism and the confidence she placed in the enquiry team and her support throughout this investigation.”
Senior Crown Prosecutor Maria Corr, of CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Complex Casework Unit, said, “This has been a truly tragic case and one of the most complex I have had to deal with in my 32 years with the Crown Prosecution Service.
“At the heart of it is a nine-year-old girl who has lost her life. Olivia Pratt-Korbel was in her own home, with her family, where she should have been safe.
“By contrast, Thomas Cashman is a ruthless criminal who recklessly pursued another man, with no consideration of the consequences. He was intent on violence that night, arming himself with two loaded guns.
“He refused to display any guilt or remorse, denying his involvement throughout and putting Olivia’s family through the torment of a lengthy trial.”
Cashman was arrested on 29 September 2022 and was charged with Olivia’s murder. He was also charged with the attempted murder of Joseph Nee, wounding of Cheryl Korbel with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, namely a 9mm calibre self-loading pistol and a 0.3 calibre revolver.
Cashman denied the offences and told a jury during his trial that he had been in the area as a drug dealer, but was not the gunman.
After a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court, he was found guilty of all charges. He will be sentenced at a later date.
Maria Corr added, “Working alongside Merseyside Police, who conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service was able to present compelling evidence in court that proved Cashman was the gunman who killed Olivia and ran away.
“Supporting Olivia’s family and the key witnesses in this case has been vital, so that the prosecution could present the strongest case at court. It was important that they felt able to give their best evidence, without fear.
“Firearms have no place in our society and the use of them can devastate families, as this case has so tragically shown. Wherever there is evidence to do so, we will always seek to prosecute dangerous offenders who bring the safety of communities into question.
“Today, our thoughts and sympathies are with Olivia’s family and friends.”
Image: Merseyside Police