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Daily Record
Daily Record
Jonathan Humphries & Adam Everett & Matthew Fulton

Man who helped cover up Thomas Cashman's murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, jailed

A man who helped Olivia Pratt-Korbel's killer Thomas Cashman cover up her murder has been jailed. Paul Russell, 41, disposed of clothing worn by Cashman on the night he killed the nine-year-old inside her home.

Olivia's murder caught the attention of the nation, with Cashman, 34, ordered to be locked up for a minimum of 42 years. And Russell, who drove the killer back to his van after the fatal shooting at Olivia's Liverpool home on August 22, 2022, has also now been caged.

Russell was imprisoned for 22 months at a hearing today at Liverpool Crown Court, as he pleaded guilty to assisting an offender in October. Appearing via video link, Russell showed no reaction as he was sentenced, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Sentencing, Justice Amanda Yip said: "Your willingness to come forward demonstrates a recognition of the suffering caused to the family. I am satisfied your cooperation has come at the cost of a serious and real threat to you.

"You now face an uncertain future. Upon your release you will not be allowed to return to Merseyside and lose contact with family and friends. You have suffered and will continue to suffer real interference with your family life."

Tom Schofield, defending, earlier told the court that his client was "genuinely terrified of Cashman" and "provided begrudging assistance with the primary motivation of getting him away from his home and partner". He added: "He doesn’t for a moment suggest he’s blameless in this case and it is right he should be punished for the assistance he gave Mr Cashman.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9 was shot dead in her home in Liverpool last August (PA)

"The defendant was neither present nor involved in the murderous actions of Mr Cashman. He was unaware at all material times, at the time of his assistance, what Cashman had actually done. The defendant was totally unaware of what Cashman had actually done.

"The begrudging assistance he was providing may have been reflected upon had he known the true horror of it. He accepts that it was apparent to him that a very serious offence had been committed. He appears to have been aware that the firearm had been discharged.”

Mr Schofield stated that Russell had been "issued with a threat to life notice" by the police after being charged with assisting an offender. He said it was unclear whether this had "emanated from Cashman and his supporters or horrified members of the public", but added: "His involvement in the events of August 22, however substantial or peripheral, will be a source of shame until the day he dies - he will never live them down.

Thomas Cashman, 34, was jailed for life (Merseyside Police/UNPIXS)

"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."

The court heard Russell will "not be allowed" to return to the Merseyside area and will be "given a new identity and no doubt be looking over his shoulder for some years to come".

The court heard at Cashman's trial that the killer had 'garden hopped' and arrived at Russell's partner's house, when Russell arrived he was greeted by Cashman who told him "I've done Joey". This was apparently in relation to Joseph Nee, the intended target of the attack that killed Olivia.

Russell said to Cashman "lad, don’t wanna hear it, don’t tell me nothing" before driving him to Cashman's parked van. Cashman left his clothing near the washing machine in Russell's partner's home and he later took these clothes to the home of a Craig Byrne, an associate of the murderer.

Cashman was given a navy blue pair of his co-defendant's Under Armour tracksuit bottoms during his pitstop at the woman's home. These were later discovered by the police at another property and DNA found matching Cashman. He was also handed a black and grey Under Armour t-shirt belonging to Russell.

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