'Mom, I'm scared': CHILLING final words of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, seconds before gunman shot her dead revealed
DOVECOT, LIVERPOOL: Nine-year-old girl Olivia Pratt-Korbel was standing right behind her mother when a gunman shot her dead in her own home in Liverpool during a "ruthless pursuit" for his intended victim in the street, a court has heard. Korbel cried "Mom, I'm scared," seconds before she was shot in the chest by a bullet, allegedly fired by Thomas Cashman, 34, after the young girl's mother opened the door when she heard loud bangs outside.
Cheryl Korbel, the mother, was reportedly shot in the hand when she attempted to shut the door after learning the gravity of the situation. Cashman fired shots, aiming at his intended victim Joseph Nee but one bullet likely passed through the front door before hitting her daughter in the chest and fatally wounding her. Cashman was reportedly "lying in wait" for Nee while being armed with a revolver and a self-loading pistol in August 2022. However, Cashman has denied murder, attempted murder, and wounding with intent in Manchester Crown court. Prosecutor David McLachlan KC stated that Nee was "without doubt the intended target," as per the Daily Mail.
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What happened on the night of the 22 August shooting?
On the night of the 22 August shooting, Nee was at Timothy Naylor’s house, in Dovecot, Liverpool, before leaving at around 10 pm. According to CCTV stills, another person can be seen following Nee, who the prosecution say is Cashman. However, Cashman is not accepting "that that was him." McLachlan said the man chasing Nee "meant business, and it wasn't good business." He added that three shots were fired, at least one of which hit Nee in the midriff. The court heard that Cashman’s task was to kill Nee. Thus, when Nee did not die, Cashman tried to shoot him again but likely got jammed as his self-loading pistol malfunctioned, leading to him being "unable to complete his task."
Nee then ran away from Cashman and turned to Cheryl's house as he banged on the door and screamed for help. However, Korbel's mother shouted at him to "go away." She then ultimately opened the front door after hearing loud noises outside which is when, Cashman who was "relentless in pursuit", fired at Nee with a second weapon which is a revolver. "This shot missed Joseph Nee and went through Cheryl Korbel's front door. That fourth likely shot passed through the door, it then passed through Cheryl Korbel's right hand as she was no doubt trying to shut the door. The bullet then went into the chest of Cheryl Korbel's daughter Olivia Pratt-Korbel," McLachlan told the court, as per the outlet.
'I felt it, it hit my hand'
On recounting the ordeal, Cheryl said: "I heard the gunshot and realized. I felt it, it hit my hand." She then turned around to see her daughter had come down the stairs and screamed, "Mom, I'm scared." She added: "She went all floppy and her eyes went to the back of her head. I realized that she must've been hit - because I didn't know until then - and I lifted her top up and the bullet had got her right in the middle of the chest." Korbel was taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the court heard. Nee, on the other hand, stumbled outside the house before getting picked up in a car and taken to the hospital," as per BBC.
Is Thomas Cashman guilty?
"This is what this case is all about. This is serious business, as you will appreciate. It is about the ruthless pursuit by Thomas Cashman to shoot Joseph Nee at all costs without any consideration for anyone else in the community. Such was the planning and ruthless nature of this attack that Thomas Cashman, we say, went armed and was in possession of two loaded firearms. When in all likelihood one of them failed, he simply turned to the other one to execute, literally, his plan," McLachlan told the court. "Thomas Cashman's actions resulted in Joseph Nee being injured, Cheryl Korbel being injured and, most tragically of all in this case, Olivia Pratt-Korbel being killed", he added.
The prosecutor, however, argues that it is unsure if Cashman was the gunman in the case. Cashman is also denying two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. "The verdict the jury reach will be based on the evidence they hear in court and not on anything else," said Justice Yip, according to the Daily Mail. The trial may tentatively last for four weeks.