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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Hollie Bone & Jonathan Humphries

Child killer Thomas Cashman learns his fate after trying to appeal sentence

Child killer Thomas Cashman has been refused permission to appeal the length of his 42 year minimum jail term.

Cashman, 34, was convicted of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in a botched gangland assassination attempt after a trial at Manchester Crown Court in March. Olivia died when Cashman fired a bullet through the front door of her home in Kingsheath Avenue, Dovecot, on August 22 last year.

Cashman had ambushed his intended target, convicted drug-dealer and burglar Joseph Nee, in the street outside but his primary weapon, a Glock style self-loading handgun, jammed and allowed Nee to scramble to his feet and flee. Nee then burst into the home of Olivia's mum, 48-year-old Cheryl Korbel, in a desperate bid to escape, with Cashman in hot pursuit.

READ MORE: Inside the brutal gang war that led to a year of violence

As Cheryl tried to close the door and keep Nee out, Cashman fired the fatal shot from his back-up weapon, a revolver. The bullet passed through the door, through Cheryl's wrist and struck Olivia, who was hiding behind her mum.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed Cashman, whose name has featured in other unsolved murder investigations, was refused permission for a full hearing by a single judge at the beginning of July. Cashman's legal team had requested to appeal the length of his sentence, but had not attempted to appeal his conviction.

Cheryl Korbel, the mother of murdered nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Julian Hamilton/Sunday Mirror)

Speaking to the Mirror, Cheryl Korbel said: "That news meant everything to us as a family, it was huge.”

After putting the family through a heart-wrenching four-week trial, the killer refused to even show up for his sentencing hearing before judge Mrs Justice Yip, and instead cowered in his cell.

Cheryl said: “We knew when he didn’t show up in court that he was going to appeal it.” Less than 20 days after that hearing, Cashman submitted an application to the Court of Appeal to have his sentence reduced.

Cheryl continued: “I laughed when I heard he had appealed his sentence, I just thought it was a joke, we went right through court and then he never turned up for his sentence. He pleaded that it wasn’t him but then put an appeal in over his sentence but not his conviction. To me he’s admitting that he’s done it by putting an appeal in to say that he’s got too long.

“He’s not grasped the severity of what he’s actually done. He’s sat there for weeks reading all the evidence and what was said in the trial and he still didn’t grasp it, he was still pleading his innocence.

“He was found guilty and didn’t turn up for his sentencing, but still had the cheek to appeal.”

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (PA)

Now the brave mum is now calling for new legislation to ensure that all convicted killers are forced to attend their sentencing and face the family. Speaking about the pain of reliving Olivia’s murder during the trial, Cheryl said: “It’s a life sentence for us as a family, you never get closure, and then for him to not turn up was a punch in the stomach.

“It’s not a quick process at all. It was draining. The pain he has put us through, we’ve lost Olivia, she was the core of the family, she was the youngest. But whether that makes any difference to him I’m not sure.

“The law needs changing so other families don’t have to go through the same thing, so they get the chance to tell these offenders the pain they have caused.

“There’s so much that goes into those impact statements and it is for the offenders to listen to them and a chance to make them understand what they have actually done and the grief they have left the family with.”

Cheryl’s sister, Antonia added: “He had been found guilty and it was like he still had that bit of power and control.”

Anyone wishing to sign the petition calling for offenders to face the family of their victims should visit here.

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