Man charged with murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel
A 34-year-old man has been charged with murdering Olivia Pratt-Korbel nearly six weeks after she was shot in the chest at her home in Liverpool.
Thomas Cashman, of Grenadier Drive, West Derby, is accused of killing nine-year-old Olivia, who died after convicted burglar Joseph Nee was chased into her family’s property in Dovecot on August 22.
Cashman has also been charged with the attempted murders of Olivia’s mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, who was injured during the incident, and Nee.
He faces two further counts of possessing a firearm to endanger life.
A second man, Paul Russell, 40, of Snowberry Road, also in West Derby, has been charged with assisting an offender.
Both defendants will appear at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Chief Crown Prosecutor Maria Corr said at a press conference at Merseyside Police headquarters on Saturday.
Ms Corr said the charges had been authorised following “the review of a file of evidence received from Merseyside Police”.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said the police remained committed to finding all those involved in the tragedy, including “the people who have tried to shield and protect individuals”.
He said: “Our work continues in earnest. At the beginning of the investigation we were firm in our commitment to finding all of those involved in this case, which includes the people who have tried to shield and protect individuals, and those who have supplied the weapon or are hiding the weapons used in this incident.
“We have had an overwhelming response and support from the public since the tragic murder of Olivia and I would ask for your continued support so we can keep the promise we made to Olivia’s family and the local community to ensure that those involved face justice.”
DCS Kameen finished by praising the “incredible strength, courage and dignity” of Olivia’s parents and family.
There have been 11 arrests over Olivia’s death so far, with nine men previously detained as part of the wide-scale investigation, all of whom were later bailed.
The Crimestoppers reward for information to catch the alleged killer was also increased to a record £200,000 – the charity’s biggest ever single offer.
Classmates of Olivia were sharing their memories of her and receiving counselling since returning to school after her death, her headteacher said.
Rebecca Wilkinson, headteacher of St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, said the nine-year-old “oozed kindness” and would be remembered for her smile.
“We have had counsellors in every class,” she said.
“(The children) are devastated at the loss of their friend, they truly are, but the counselling has definitely helped and we have been so proud of the resilience the children have shown since they’ve been back.”
Earlier this month, Olivia’s funeral was held at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Knotty Ash.
Pink ties, jackets, scarves and bows were worn by those attending the service after her family asked people to wear a “splash of pink”.
Ms Korbel carried a pink teddy bear into the service, during which she said: “Liv touched so many people’s hearts and was loved and adored by everyone. She will never be forgotten.
“I will never say goodbye but what I will say is goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.”
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