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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Adam Everett & Jonathan Humphries & Ashlie Blakey

Couple in Thomas Cashman love triangle to 'rekindle relationship' after turning in killer

The couple who turned in Thomas Cashman are set to rekindle their relationship despite lurid revelations about a love-triangle involving the thug.

Paul Russell, 41, was jailed for 22 months yesterday (Wednesday) for assisting an offender. He admitted driving Cashman and disposing of his clothing after the 34-year-old shot nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel in Dovecot, Liverpool.

The court heard Russell was not aware of the 'true horror' of Cashman's crime when he agreed to drive him a short distance and then pass an unknown associate a bag of clothing worn during the shooting. When he realised the truth, Russell went to the police told them the man responsible was 'Tommy Cashman'.

Following the shooting, Cashman fled the scene and arrived unannounced at the home of Russell's girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

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The Liverpool Echo reports how yesterday, Tom Schofield, defending Russell, told the court: "Despite the revelations at trial they have decided to make a go of their relationship, and that will be their intention on his release.”

Justice Yip also referenced the relationship, telling Russell: "While in custody, you learned of the sexual relationship between Thomas Cashman and your partner. That news had to be broken through police officers.

"It was news that attracted huge national publicity during Mr Cashman’s trial. I am told that you intend to make a go of your relationship on your release."

Mr Schofield said Russell had not been able to see his children or parents during his remand period. He said: "The defendant was initially remanded to a prison in Leeds, but owing to a threat to his safety was transferred to a prison in an undisclosed location in an assumed name.

"Because of those arrangements, prison has been a particularly isolating experience." John Pratt, Olivia's dad, was heard to say "So what?" from the public gallery.

Thomas Cashman, 34 (Merseyside Police/PA Wire)

The woman gave evidence during Cashman's trial at Manchester Crown Court, saying she awoke to find 'Tommy in me room', who was pulling at his hair and asking for a 'pair of pants'. The jury heard Cashman told her "I didn't know where else to go. I trust you."

She said Cashman was stuttering and saying 'someone was coming for him'. He told her a 'source' had told him that someone had been 'sitting him off, observing him'.

She said she called Russell, and overheard Cashman telling him 'I've done Joey'. Russell replied 'Lad I don't wanna hear it.' Many who followed coverage of the trial will remember graphic and highly personal revelations about the woman having an affair with Cashman behind Russell's back.

The fling had been going on for around two years after an exchange of flirty messages on Instagram. Giving evidence from behind a screen, she spent a day-and-a-half on the stand being cross-examined by Cashman's barrister, Professor John Cooper KC.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Family Handout/PA Wire)

Yet her version of events on the evening of August 22 occupied less than 10 minutes of that time. Topics instead included sexual fluids, Cashman's underwhelming performance in the bedroom, chlamydia and a collection of intimate pictures saved in a hidden album on a phone and referred to as the 'Tommy file'.

The defence claimed she was trying to 'ruin' Cashman because he refused to leave his long-term partner, Kayleeanne Sweeney, for her, or an attempt to get Russell off the hook for a £25,000 cannabis debt he allegedly owed Cashman. However, she responded: "You’re implying I’ve ruined your client’s life, yet I’ve ruined my life.

"I am sitting here for what, because I’m angry? I’m mad? No. I’m sitting here for the little girl. I’ve not been asked one question about her."

Russell, who admitted helping Cashman and later pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, will be released on licence in around five months, at he half was stage of his sentence, after time served on remand is taken into account. The court heard he will be given a new identity and has been warned not to return to Merseyside.

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