A man has been found guilty of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was shot dead in her Liverpool home last August. Thomas Cashman, 34, was found guilty of murder, attempted murder, wounding with intent and two charges of possession of firearms following a trial.
Cashman, who is also a self-confessed drug dealer, had previously denied being the gunman who shot Olivia and injured her mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, after chasing a man into their home on August 22.
During the trial at Manchester Crown Court, which lasted more than three weeks, the jury heard the schoolgirl ran downstairs after hearing shots outside, saying "I’m scared mummy, I’m scared".
The 34-year-old has also been found guilty of wounding Ms Korbel and the attempted murder of Joseph Nee, who was the intended target of the attack, the trial heard. He will be sentenced on Monday.
Olivia’s death sent shockwaves throughout the neighbourhood and the nation, as well as a feeling of sorrow that gun violence could enter a family home.
Olivia's mother, Cheryl Korbel, sat in court with her children while cradling a teddy bear, reported Sky News. Once the verdicts were delivered, Olivia's family gasped and shed tears.
Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Mark Baker said: “The result today will never bring Olivia back and I know that this will live with her family for the rest of their lives.
“I would like to thank the families of Olivia’s mum, Cheryl Korbel and dad, John Pratt for the dignity that they have demonstrated throughout the trial.
“Reliving the fatal events of that night last August will have surely been unbearable for all of them, particularly for Cheryl, who herself was injured during the shooting, and Olivia’s brother and sister, Ryan and Chloe, who were in the house at the time and witnessed the traumatic aftermath of Cashman’s vile actions.”
“The key witness in this case has demonstrated incredible bravery. She has stood up for what is right… justice. Her evidence was powerful and emotional and most importantly she spoke the truth. She should be proud of herself knowing that her testimony has helped to bring the killer of a nine-year-old child to justice and I hope her courage encourages people to do the right thing in future investigations.
“I sincerely hope that today’s verdict will deter others from using guns on our streets. Olivia’s death should not be in vain. In 2007 the murder of Rhys Jones should have been that defining moment for those who were prepared to use guns on our streets.
“These people are toxic in our community, and we need to stand firmly together to root them out and put them behind bars. We don’t want other families to suffer in the way that Olivia and Rhys’ families have.”
Supt Baker said, in his police interviews, Cashman showed no remorse for his actions. He added: “When he found out that he had shot an innocent young girl, he should have had the courage to stand up and come forward. Instead, he chose to lay low, despite being a dad himself.
“He is not worthy of walking the streets of Merseyside, and neither are those who think they can bring fear, or intimidation, to our communities through the use of firearms.”