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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Ellie Kemp

Paul Russell to be given new identity when he's released from prison

The man who helped convicted murderer Thomas Cashman after he fatally shot nine-year-old Olivia Pratt Korbel will get a new identity when he is released from prison, a court has heard.

Paul Russell, 41, was jailed for 22 months today (Wednesday April 26) for assisting an offender after he admitted driving Cashman, 34, and disposing of his clothing after he shot the nine-year-old in Dovecot, Liverpool. Tom Schofield, defending Russell, told the hearing Russell’s parents have had to move away from Merseyside since the shooting.

Mr Schofield said that Russell will also "not be allowed to return to Merseyside." He added: "[He will be] given a new identity and no doubt be looking over his shoulder for some years to come."

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The court was told Russell had come forward to police and named Cashman as the killer after discovering a child had been killed in the incident, which happened at about 10pm on August 22 last year. Russell was under police protection and in a safehouse for the whole of September, before he was charged in October.

Mr Schofield said moments after Russell was charged he was issued with a threat to life notice. He said it was not clear whether the threat came from Cashman, who Russell was said to be “terrified” of, or from “horrified members of the public”.

Paul Russell will not be allowed to return to Merseyside (Liverpool Echo)

He added: “The defendant was initially remanded to a prison in Leeds but, owing to a threat to his safety, he was transferred to a prison in an undisclosed location under an assumed name.”

The court heard he had not seen his children since September and his parents had been relocated out of the Merseyside area. Mr Schofield said: “When he is released from custody, whenever that will be, he will not be allowed to return to Merseyside and he will be given a new identity and will no doubt be looking over his shoulder for some years to come.

"It would be naïve not to recognise this hardship and disruption he has brought upon himself. Of course, all of that hardship and disruption is but a drop in the ocean of grief that Olivia’s family have had to endure and will continue to endure. I do ask the court to reflect those circumstances in some way in his sentence."

Ryan Korbel, Olivia's brother, then got up and walked out of the courtroom. Russell, of Snowberry Road, pleaded guilty to assisting an offender in October 2022.

Manchester Crown Court previously heard Cashman had "garden hopped" to Russell's partner's home after shooting the schoolgirl. She cannot be named for legal reasons, but reported that she had phoned her boyfriend, Paul Russell, after being woken by the killer at her bedside.

When Russell arrived, Cashman was said to have told him at the doorstep "I've done Joey" , who was the intended target of the shooting. Russell allegedly said "lad, don’t wanna hear it, don’t tell me nothing".

He then drove Cashman to Aspes Road, where he had parked his Citroen Berlingo van. Russell later took the clothes Cashman had worn during the shooting to the home of Craig Byrne, an associate of the murderer, on Snowberry Road as he walked his dog late that night.

Dad-of-two 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 in a cardboard box at his sister's home on Mab Lane, and when tested were found to contain his DNA and two particles of gunpower residue on the outer surface of the right leg.

He was also handed a black and grey Under Armour t-shirt belonging to Russell, which was subsequently located in the box. A speck of Cashman's blood was found on the garment.

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