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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Jonathan Humphries & Adam Everett

Paul Russell and ex who was key Cashman witness to 'rekindle relationship'

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

Paul Russell, 41, was handed a 22 month prison sentence at Liverpool Crown Court today, including time spent on remand, despite admitting helping 34-year-old Cashman dispose of evidence after the murder of little Olivia Pratt-Korbel. 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, and when he realised the truth he gave Cashman's name to police.

The schoolgirl died on August 22 after Cashman ambushed rival drug dealer Joseph Nee on Kingsheath Avenue, Dovecot, while carrying two guns.

READ MORE: Love triangle and pair of Under Armour trackies proved Cashman killed Olivia

He shot Nee, 36, three times but the intended target managed to scramble to his feet and run as Cashman's Glock handgun "malfunctioned". Nee tried to barge into the home of Olivia's mum, Cheryl Korbel, to escape but Cashman was in close pursuit and blindly fired his back-up weapon, a 0.3 calibre revolver, at the door.

The bullet struck Cheryl , who was desperately trying to keep the door shut, in the wrist and then hit Olivia in the chest. Cashman fled the scene on foot, "garden hopping" to avoid CCTV, before arriving unannounced at the home of Russell's girlfriend, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Today Tom Schofield, defending Russell, told the court: "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.

Mr Schofield said Russell had not been able to see his children or parents during his remand period. However, referring to his partner, he 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."

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.

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.


Olivia's brother walks out of court as Paul Russell defence ask for suspended sentence

Paul Russell to be given new identity after helping child killer Thomas Cashman

Olivia Pratt-Korbel's family in court for Paul Russell sentencing

Man who helped Thomas Cashman to cover up Olivia Pratt-Korbel's murder jailed

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