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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Jonathan Humphries & Adam Everett

Thomas Cashman tells jury if you want to sell drugs you 'can't let people take the p***'

Thomas Cashman told a jury "you can't let people take the p***'"if you want to sell drugs in the Huyton area.

The 34-year-old gave evidence at Manchester Crown Court where he is standing trial over the murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel on August 22 last year. The nine-year-old died after a bullet passed through the front door of her family home on Kingsheath Avenue, Dovecot, before hitting her mum, Cheryl Korbel, in the wrist and then striking her in the chest.

The gunman had been chasing 36-year-old convicted burglar and drug dealer Joseph Nee on the street outside, who despite being shot twice managed to run and barged into the Korbel house while fleeing for his life. Cashman denies any involvement in Olivia's death or shooting Nee.

READ MORE: Thomas Cashman murder trial resumes as man accused of shooting Olivia Pratt-Korbel gives evidence

Today David McLachlan, KC, prosecuting, questioned Cashman over his claims he had been "stitched up" by a witness who cannot be named for legal reasons. The jury has heard the woman had a fling with Cashman before the murder, and that she awoke that night to find him in her bedroom asking for clothes.

The woman said she heard him telling her partner, Paul Russell, that '"I've done Joey" and that he had "done the backs" before arriving at her house.

However Cashman has claimed the woman wanted to "ruin him" for "lots of reasons", including because she was angry he did not want to leave his partner, Kayleeanne Sweeney, to be with her. Cashman also claimed Mr Russell was "under a lot of pressure" to pay a £25,000 debt for five kilos of cannabis Cashman had supplied him.

When Mr McLachlan asked if he was telling the jury the witness is a a woman trying to "stitch him up", Cashman replied: "It is. A woman scorned, it shows you the lengths a woman who’s got something in for someone would go to. This is how low they go to."

The jury heard Cashman claim Mr Russell had been "Googling how to kill himself" because of the debt, and was "under so much pressure to pay me the money".

Cashman told the jury that before the shooting he asked Mr Russell "where's my money", and was told Mr Russell would "sort it" and could pass £5,000 and some cannabis to Cashman's associated, Craig Byrne, as part payment. However, Cashman said he later heard from Mr Byrne that Mr Russell had only paid £2,500 and some "scraps", referring to low quality cannabis.

Mr McLachlan played some CCTV from the day after the murder showing a van outside the home of the witness. It appeared to pass and then reversed back towards the house.

Cashman told the jury he was there to see a relative but spotted Mr Russell in the garden. He said: “I seen him. I seen Craig and he said he passed around £2,500 and scraps. I spoke to another mate, Little Red, for a couple of minutes then I went round. I saw Paul Russell in the garden. I said to my mate, stop, reverse. I said ‘what the f*** you’re taking the p**’.

Mr McLachlan asked: “Did it get more serious?". Cashman replied: “He was taking the p***. I told him if he doesn’t pay the money I’ll take his graft phone and car. I’d take it.”

Mr McLachlan asked: “What if he didn’t give it to you?"

Cashman responded: “If he didn’t give it me, well, he would have ended up getting a punch or something.”

Mr McLachlan asked Cashman whether that represented "the world in which you live and work".

Cashman replied: “If I let people do that all the time I wouldn’t be able to sell cannabis. I would have took the graft, I would have took the car. He’s got a nice car. To pay the bill off.”

Mr McLachlan said: “I’ll use a term I’m sure you will understand. You can’t let people rip you off?”. Cashman agreed, saying: "I can’t let people take the p***.

This afternoon, Cashman was asked about his lifestyle and said: "I hold my hands up. I’m a drug dealer. I’m not a bad drug dealer who sells class A drugs. I don’t do anything bad.

"I always grew up smoking cannabis. Some people may look at that as a very bad thing. I don’t look at it as a I am a bad person for doing that.”

The trial continues.

As well as denying Olivia's murder, Cashman denies the attempted murder of Nee, as well as wounding Cheryl Korbel with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm. He also pleaded not guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, namely a 9mm calibre self-loading pistol and a 0.3 calibre revolver.


Thomas Cashman told police 'yous are stitching me up' after Olivia murder arrest

Witness 'laughs' at claims her boyfriend owed Thomas Cashman £25k

Ex-lover told to 'calm down' by judge after Thomas Cashman questions

Woman says 'world crumbled down' when she was arrested on train over Olivia Pratt-Korbel murder

Woman who had 'fling' with Thomas Cashman believed she was pregnant with his child

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