Olivia Pratt-Korbel: woman denies lying to police about man accused of girl’s murder, court hears

A witness, who had an on-off relationship with murder accused Thomas Cashman, entered a heated exchange with his lawyer on Monday

Thomas Cashman appears in the dock at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court. Image: Court artist sketch by Elizabeth CookThomas Cashman appears in the dock at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court. Image: Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook
Thomas Cashman appears in the dock at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court. Image: Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook

A woman has denied lying to police about a gunman accused of shooting a nine-year-old girl dead, a jury has heard.

Thomas Cashman, 34, is accused of fatally shooting Olivia Pratt-Korbel and injuring her mother, Cheryl, 46, after chasing Joseph Nee into their house in Dovecot, Liverpool, in August last year. Cashman is on trial in the Manchester Crown Court, after pleading not guilty to the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Nee, wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Olivia’s mother, and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The trial entered its second week on Monday, where a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, became involved in heated exchanges with Cashman’s defence lawyer John Cooper KC.

The jury heard last week that the witness, who had an on-off relationship with the accused, had implicated Cashman, telling police after the shooting that he had gone to her home and changed his clothes. She also claimed she heard him say he had “done Joey”, the court was told.

Mr Cooper suggested to the witness that Cashman had used her for sex, and this had made her tell lies to police to “ruin” him. He said: “Central to your dishonest evidence in this court is you with Thomas Cashman... Made you want to ruin him?”

She replied that this was not the case. “I have had to do what I have had to do for a little girl here. I have had to go through a lot of pain, to think about what Tommy done.”

Mr Cooper continued: “About the time of this tragic killing, you were angry, resentful and vindictive.”

“I was not,” she replied. “I certainly didn’t want a relationship with a thug with a little w***y.”

She added: “I have not been asked one question about a nine-year-old girl who lost her life. That little girl can’t go home, so I’m passionate about that... Let’s get to the good bits. Why not ask about the shooting?”

Mr Cooper replied: “Good bits? Because we say you are a liar.” The witness said she had not initially told police about having a “fling” with Cashman because she was “absolutely petrified”. At one point during the exchange, trial judge Mrs Justice Yip asked the witness to look at her, to take a moment and to calm down.

Last week, the court heard the woman was asleep at home the night of the shooting, when she felt a tapping on her leg and heard someone say “It’s Tommy, it’s Tommy”.

In a video interview played to Manchester Crown Court on Friday, she said: “I could just hear him saying ‘give me a pair of pants’.” She said: “He was stuttering. Something like someone’s come for him... He wanted to do whatever he wanted to do before they got to him.”

She added: “I didn’t even know any of this, any shooting that happened. I asked him where he’s been before and he just said he went to drop the bits off before he came to my house.” Asked what she thought he meant by “bits”, she said: “I honestly believe it was the guns”.

Cashman was “very nervous,” she said. “I’ve never seen him like that. That’s why I felt like there was something wrong. I didn’t want to question him cause I didn’t want him to start like, what the f*** do you know, cause he’s… he can get agitated and get very angry so I wouldn’t want that on me at that time.”

She said he smoked a spliff while at her house and squeezed her hand as he walked out. Asked why he had come to her house, she said: “That’s what I want to ask him myself, honestly, and the fact he told me he trusts me.”

“I believe he knew he’d done something bad that’s why he was in no fit state. The way he was talking I knew something was a lot more than what he was saying. I just felt there was more to it.” She said he told her “I didn’t know where else to go, I trust you”. She also described him saying “it’s all gone wrong”.

The trial continues, and is expected to last three more weeks.