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Daily Record
Daily Record
Adam Everett and Dan Haygarth & John-Paul Clark

Olivia Pratt-Korbel's murderer changed man's life after ten minute encounter

A man told cops probing the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel that he was not a friend of convicted child-killer Thomas Cashman.

Paul Russell, 41, was jailed for 22 months last week for helping Cashman with his effort to cover up the murder and evade arrest, reports the Liverpool Echo. Mr Russell disposed of the murderer's clothing and drove him back to his own vehicle following Olivia's tragic death on August 22, 2022.

At Liverpool Crown Court, Prosecutor Henry Riding read extracts from chats that Russell had with police officers after his detention on August 28, 2022. Speaking to officers Mr Russell spoke of the moment that he received a phone call from his girlfriend.

He said: "When she phoned me, my heart. My world just fell apart. I don't like him anyway."

Cashman found the back door of the property open and gained entry while Mr Russell's partner was asleep, he commented: "If I could turn the back the clock now, I'd have locked the door. He was there for five or 10 minutes while I was there and was gone."

Russell said he didn't want to see him: "I didn't wanna see him to be fair. Devastated." He said he had known the murderer "for years", but added: "We're not like friends or nothing like that. Why's he trust me? I'm not his mate or nothing."

About events inside the house he said: "I'm not sure if he said 'can I do a joint?'. I'm not sure. See look, I just wanted him out me house. That was it.

"That was my main objective, I didn't want him in. I didn't wanna drop him off, didn't want to. I was thinking of something in that split second what I could say something not to drop him off, but there was nothing for me to say. But me missus wanted him gone fast."

He also mentioned the child-killer turning up the next day, "pulling up and saying 'don't say nothing'", stating: "He was whispering summat to me again. Again, I couldn't really make it out. He's saying 'don't say nothing'. It was proper low."

Mr Russell's partner cannot be named for legal reasons, but says that she had raised the alarm with her boyfriend after being woken by the killer at her bedside. Russell too attended the address in West Derby and Cashman is said to have told him at the doorstep "I've done Joey".

He was speaking about Joseph Nee, the intended target of the attack. Mr Russell said to Cashman "lad, don’t wanna hear it, don’t tell me nothing".

He drove him to the spot he had parked his Citroen Berlingo van before heading to the scene of the shooting on foot. The child-killer left the clothing he had been wearing on the kitchen floor beside the washing machine and Mr Russell took these clothes to a man Craig Byrne's home as he walked his dog later on that night.

Cashman was given a pair of Mr Russell's tracksuit bottoms during his pitstop at the woman's home. These were later discovered in a cardboard box at his sister's home on Mab Lane, and contained two particles of gunpowder residue on the outer surface of the right leg.

He was also given a t-shirt by Mr Russell and a speck of Cashman's blood was found on the garment. Cashman had allegedly told the woman upon his arrival at the address that he "didn't know where else to go" and "trusted" her.

They had previously had a secret sexual relationship, which had first developed two years prior after they exchanged a series of flirty Instagram messages. But he accused her of trying to "ruin" him and described her as a "woman scorned" after he apparently refused to leave his long-term partner for her.

The murderer also claimed that Mr Russell owed him a £25,000 drug debt and suggested that they had been motivated to frame him for the £200,000 Crimestoppers reward money. He claimed that he had received the clothing at an earlier date, following a sexual encounter with the woman.

Cashman was was jailed for life with a minimum term of 42 years last month.

Sentencing Russell, Justice Amanda Yip said: "Gun crime is always serious. As this and other cases demonstrate, when firearms are discharged, fatalities and injuries can be caused to anyone - including those with no connection to whatever has motivated the shooting.

"The use of guns also spreads fear in the wider community. Those who assist offenders who use guns must expect to be imprisoned.

"In most cases, sentences will be substantial. That message needs to be understood. In your case, there is a balance to be struck. After discovering the dreadful truth that an innocent child had lost her life, you came forward to the police.

"You named Mr Cashman despite genuine fear of consequences for you and your family. You cooperated with the authorities and were willing to give evidence. You accepted your own guilt. All of this puts you in a very different situation to others who have chosen to remain silent.

"Your willingness to come forward and to assist demonstrates a recognition of the suffering caused to Olivia’s family and the courage to overcome your fears to do the right thing once you knew a child had died. I am satisfied that your cooperation with the authorities 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 will lose contact with family and friends. You will have to live under a new identity. You have suffered and will continue to suffer real interference with your family life."

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