Former lover of Olivia gun suspect told cops because ‘she couldn’t protect him’
A WOMAN whose house was used as a refuge by Olivia Pratt- Korbel’s alleged killer minutes after the nine-year-old was shot came forward to police because she ‘couldn’t protect him’, a court heard.
The witness – who had previously had a sexual relationship with suspect Thomas Cashman – said she was revealing what happened because Olivia’s mother deserved ‘answers’, a jury was told.
Olivia had been in bed at the family home in Liverpool, but came downstairs after hearing loud bangs in the street outside saying: ‘Mum I’m scared.’
A murder trial heard that as her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, tried to barricade the front door, Cashman allegedly fired a shot which missed its target, Joseph Nee, and instead fatally injured the schoolgirl.
After firing another shot, the gunman went to the home of a woman with whom he had previously had a sexual relationship, jurors were told.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, later told police that Cashman, 34, asked for a change of clothes, saying to her: ‘I didn’t know where else to go, I trust you.’ She then called another man who drove Cashman back to where he had parked his van earlier before taking away the clothes the alleged gunman had been wearing, Manchester Crown Court heard.
But the witness told police how she ‘broke down’ the next morning after learning about Olivia’s shooting on television and later came forward. ‘I physically couldn’t, I just couldn’t do it,’ she told officers in snippets read out to the court. ‘Basically, I couldn’t protect him.’
She added that she didn’t want Olivia’s mother ‘to not have them answers’, David McLachlan KC told jurors as he opened the prosecution case on Tuesday. ‘It’s her little girl, at the end of the day,’ she added. The woman told police she called another man, Paul Russell, and when he arrived she heard Cashman say something along the lines of: ‘I’ve done Joey.’
Mr Russell allegedly gave Cashman a lift back to where he had parked his van. The woman told officers she was ‘devastated’ that Cashman ‘never took them clothes with him’. Mr McLachlan said Cashman ‘sought refuge’ at her home, and thereby ‘ brought a whole world of pain to her door’.
The prosecutor added that Cashman denies visiting the woman’s house that night, but clothing stained with his blood would later be found at her address.
According to the prosecution, Cashman was engaged in a ‘ruthless pursuit’ to shoot Nee ‘at all costs without any consideration for anyone else in the community’.
But the shooting went ‘horribly wrong’, Mr McLachlan said. Yesterday jurors were shown how Cashman’s
journeys in his Citroen van were tracked by cameras on the afternoon of August 22 last year.
The prosecution alleges that Cashman was trying to find 36year-old Nee but could not ‘carry out his task to kill’ because his target had gone to Screwfix.
Shortly after 10pm, however, Nee was shot in the midriff after leaving a friend’s house in the Dovecot area of the city having watched Manchester United versus Liverpool on television.
Ms Korbel had opened her front door to find out what was going on after hearing the bangs. While fleeing the gunman, Nee saw the open door and raced towards it for sanctuary, the trial has heard.
Cashman is alleged to have fired again at Nee but the bullet went through Ms Korbel’s right hand and hit Olivia in her chest.
Cashman, of West Derby, Liverpool, denies the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Nee and the wounding with intent of her mother. He also denies two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The trial continues.
‘Brought a world of pain to her door’