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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Brian Farmer

Olivia’s killer plans conviction appeal after losing minimum term challenge

PA Media

Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer is planning an appeal against his conviction, a lawyer has said.

Thomas Cashman, now 35, who was found guilty of murdering the nine-year-old schoolgirl at her home in Liverpool in August 2022, failed in a bid to challenge his 42-year minimum jail sentence on Wednesday.

Three appeal judges refused to give him permission to challenge that minimum term after concluding, at a Court of Appeal hearing in London, that he did not have an arguable case.

But a lawyer representing Cashman, and a court official, said after the hearing that an appeal against conviction is pending.

The court official said an application has been lodged but has not yet been considered by an appeal judge – and no appeal hearing date has been fixed.

Cashman was given a mandatory life sentence – and told by trial judge Mrs Justice Yip that he will not be eligible for release until he is in his 70s.

His written application for permission to challenge his 42-year minimum jail term was rejected by an appeal judge, without a hearing, earlier this year.

A barrister representing him renewed that appeal bid at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Wednesday.

John Cooper KC told appeal judges Dame Victoria Sharp, Mrs Justice McGowan and Mr Justice Chamberlain that “aggravating features” were too “heavily relied” on when Mrs Justice Yip passed sentence.

But the three judges ruled against Cashman and dismissed his appeal bid.

Cashman did not appear at the appeal hearing.

The shooting of Olivia happened while Cashman, of Grenadier Drive, West Derby, Liverpool, was chasing convicted drug dealer Joseph Nee, who tried to run into the schoolgirl’s home in a bid to escape.

Cashman opened fire, hitting Olivia’s mother, Cheryl Korbel, in the wrist as she tried to keep the door shut against Nee, with the same bullet killing her daughter.

Mr Cooper argued that the “planning” of the crime was given “too much emphasis” by Mrs Justice Yip.

He also said the trial judge had not placed enough emphasis on the age Cashman would be when eligible for release.

And he told appeal judges there had been an “over-emphasis” on Cashman’s “lack of remorse”.

Cashman was jailed at Manchester Crown Court in April.

He had admitted being a “high-level” cannabis dealer, but told jurors: “I’m not a killer, I’m a dad.”

Jurors found him guilty of Olivia’s murder, the attempted murder of Nee, the wounding with intent of Ms Korbel, and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Dame Victoria said on Wednesday, when dismissing Cashman’s bid to challenge his 42-year minimum jail term, that the “notorious” killing of Olivia had not only shocked Liverpool but the nation.

She said Mrs Justice Yip’s sentencing remarks had been “immaculately structured”.

It cannot sensibly be argued that overall sentence imposed was excessive, let alone manifestly excessive
— Court of Appeal judge Dame Victoria Sharp

“It cannot sensibly be argued that overall sentence imposed was excessive, let alone manifestly excessive,” said Dame Victoria.

“Olivia’s mother and family are left with a life-long sentence.”

She said it was true to say that Cashman will be “well into his 70s” by the time he is eligible for release.

But she added: “That, however, is a consequence by the commission by him of these terrible crimes, rather than any error by (Mrs Justice Yip).”

She went on: “The application for leave is refused.”

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