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Smiling Olivia Pratt-Korbel seen laughing and dancing in newly released heartwarming video
4 April 2023, 16:14 | Updated: 4 April 2023, 17:15
The family of Olivia Pratt-Korbel have released new heartwarming footage of the nine-year-old at home in the wake of gunman Thomas Cashman's life sentence for her murder.
The first of the two videos shows the youngster strutting across the family's living room with a large grin visible on her face, while a second video shows her giggling in a pastel coloured dress as she sucks her ponytail down the nozzle of a vacuum.
The touching footage was released by the family through Merseyside Police on Tuesday.
"As is clear from the video, Olivia was a sassy, chatty girl who never ran out of energy," Merseyside Police said.
It follows comments from the family who have said they hope the schoolgirl's killer, Thomas Cashman, 34, is "haunted" the by the death of a "scared nine-year-old" for rest of his life.
Cashman, who shot the nine-year-old girl dead during a botched gangland hit in Liverpool last year, refused to face the judge as he was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.
Family of Olivia Pratt-Korbel release videos of her
Olivia's aunt, Louise Pratt, said in a statement on behalf of Olivia's father that the schoolgirl had "died a scared nine year old, and we hope [Thomas] Cashman is haunted by this knowledge for the rest of his life".
She said the the family are happy with the outcome, but "will not be celebrating".
Olivia's mother, Cheryl Korbel said: “We welcome the sentence given but what I can say is that our family and I have already started our life sentence having to spend our lives without Olivia.”
In a personal statement read before the court, Cheryl Korbel shared a heartbreaking account of returning to the family home after her daughter's death.
She said: "Right in that moment I was home, we were back to how our lives were before that night and I soaked up the surroundings until reality dawned and brought me back to my living nightmare."
Ms Korbel said she cannot get her head around "how Cashman continued to shoot after hearing the terrified screams and utter devastation he had caused.
"He doesn't care. His actions have left the biggest hole in our lives.
She added: "That man set out to do a job and he didn't care about anyone else or who got in the way. He certainly couldn't own it either."
Prior to sentencing, Cashman had claimed the proceedings had descended into a "circus" and the court heard he refused to attend as he was aware that the CPS were singing "We are the Champions" following the verdict in his trial.
Cashman's counsel, John Cooper KC, said: "He has been spoken to and been given certain advice but he is concerned that the matter is turning into a circus."
Mrs Justice Yip said she regarded his lack of attendance as "disrespectful" to not only the court but those interested in proceedings, including the family of the deceased.
In his absence the judge handed him a sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 42 years.
Cashman had been chasing rival Joseph Nee through the street when his intended target ran towards an open door on the night of August 22 last year, jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard.
The gunman fired through the front door of the Korbel family's home at around 10pm, with a bullet ripping through Cheryl Korbel's wrist before killing her daughter Olivia.
Last week Cashman was found guilty of murdering the nine-year-old girl and wounding with intent regarding the mother's injuries.
Jurors also found him guilty of the attempted murder of Nee, and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Ms Pratt-Korbel, was seen with an "ecstatic" look on her face as she left the court, raising a pink teddy bear into the air and shouting, "yes!".
Dr Rob Hesketh an expert in gang behaviour at Liverpool John Moores University told LBC News reporter Chris Chambers how gun crime goes hand in hand with the lifestyle Cashman was following.
"I think it’s the actual society as a whole we’re living in, a society of conspicuous consumption, people want nice things because that’s part of the identity," he said.
"We can’t go on the net without seeing advertisements for trainers, cars, houses, tracksuits, nice clothes… I’m not defending them in any respect, but young people want those goals because that’s part of an identity that they yearn for.
"But sadly in some communities the legitimate means to get those goals are not always there - as long as you’ve got a community where the dominant philosophy is criminality, then naturally you will get young people who are drawn into that.
Dr Hesketh added that the key driver of this violence is the drug trade, as it brings in a "heck of a lot of money".
"The temptation is always there. If there are no legitimate opportunities within a community and certain individuals are driving around in nice cars and wearing nice clothes, then that will be an attraction.
"Sadly these things start to spiral out of control because what happens is we get territoriality. Groups will take over certain areas, and there will be rivalry between those groups.”