‘Please stay with me!’ Mum describes tragic Olivia’s final moments
OLIVIA Pratt- Korbel’s mother begged the nine-year-old to ‘please stay with me’ after she had been shot by a man trying to force his way into their home, a jury heard yesterday.
In an interview shown at the alleged gunman’s murder trial, Cheryl Korbel sobbed and broke down as she told how the stricken schoolgirl was ‘gasping for breath’ during her last moments.
Ms Korbel, 46, told how she begged for a towel to staunch the bleeding – but said even before Olivia was rushed to hospital by armed officers, ‘I knew she was gone’.
Moments earlier, Ms Korbel had been desperately trying to keep the front door of her Liverpool home closed as Joseph Nee – who the prosecution say was the intended target – hammered on it to be let in.
But alleged gunman Thomas Cashman then fired a shot through the door which struck Ms Korbel in the hand. Unbeknown to her, the bullet then struck Olivia – who had got out of bed due to the noise and come downstairs, saying ‘Mum, I’m scared’ – in the chest.
Jurors saw her break down during the interview, which was recorded a week after the shooting. In tears, she said: ‘I couldn’t keep it [the door] shut.’
As the video was played in court, Ms Korbel wiped away tears in the public gallery, while her daughter Chloe left the courtroom for a time. In the dock, Cashman, 34, was handed a tissue after appearing to wipe away tears with his hand.
The judge, Mrs Justice Yip, ended proceedings early, telling jurors at Manchester Crown Court: ‘We all feel emotions.’
In the video, Ms Korbel told how she had been ‘screaming’ for Nee to ‘go away’ when she realised she’d been shot.
She described how her blood was ‘squirting everywhere’.
Unable to keep the door closed any longer due to her injury, she told how she thought she heard Olivia scream and say ‘Mum!’ – ‘and that’s when I turned round and she was just sat there, still’.
Not realising that the bullet which had passed through her hand had gone on to hit Olivia in the chest, Ms Korbel said she ‘huddled over’ her.
She desperately tried to take her daughter upstairs to safety but Olivia ‘wasn’t helping me’, she told police.
Just then the front door was ‘flung open’ by the gunman as Nee, 35, lay ‘slumped’ on the floor in the hall, begging ‘Please lad, don’t!’ Another shot rang out, this time lodging harmlessly in the doorframe, and Ms Korbel pleaded with her son Ryan to ‘help me get her up the stairs’.
They struggled to carry Olivia to the landing halfway up the stairs while ‘screaming’ at Chloe to call an ambulance.
‘I couldn’t keep her awake,’ Mrs Korbel. ‘She was gasping for breath.’
She said Olivia had gone ‘all floppy and her eyes went to the back of her head’.
‘There was blood everywhere. I kept saying it was mine, it was mine, but I knew it was not right.’
Ms Korbel realised her daughter ‘must have been hit’ and ‘lifted her top up and the bullet had got her right in the middle of the chest’. She began ‘screaming
“Please Liv, stay with me”’ and begged a neighbour to bring a towel to staunch the bleeding. By that time, the court has heard, the gunman had run off.
‘I knew she’d gone, I knew she’d gone,’ Ms Korbel said. ‘Then the police turned up and came up and just picked her up and took her out the house.’
Armed police took Olivia to Alder Hey children’s hospital but she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Neighbours told how her wounded mother begged paramedics to be taken to the same hospital, but was instead taken to A&E at Aintree Hospital.
Ms Korbel told police that when she was told Olivia had died, ‘I just went hysterical’ and began screaming.
Cashman, of West Derby, Liverpool, denies the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Nee and the wounding with intent of Ms Korbel. He also denies two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. The trial continues.