How Olivia's killer 'disrespected' her family - refusing to come to court because 'CPS sang We Are The Champions'

3 April 2023, 16:12 | Updated: 3 April 2023, 16:37

Thomas Cashman said his trial had become a 'circus' after he was found guilty of murdering Olivia Pratt-Korbel
Thomas Cashman said his trial had become a 'circus' after he was found guilty of murdering Olivia Pratt-Korbel. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The man who murdered nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel said the prosecution was turning the trial into a circus by singing 'We Are The Champions' after he was found guilty.

Thomas Cashman, 34, refused to come up for sentencing and remained in his cell as he was given a life sentence with a minimum of 42 years in prison for killing Olivia and wounding her mother and the man he was pursuing.

Cowardly killer Cashman said the triumphant singing by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) officials after he was found guilty last week showed proceedings had descended into a "circus";

Cashman's defence lawyer, John Cooper KC, said: "He was aware the CPS were singing ‘We are the Champions’ on Friday, loudly.

"When the matter was raised with them, they said, we are entitled to."

The judge Justice Yip said: "With respect Mr Cooper I don’t think that has anything to do with whether he is in court to hear his sentence and the reasons for his sentence."

Mr Cooper said back: "With respect, My Lady, it does.

"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.

LBC has contacted the CPS for comment.

In his absence the judge handed him a sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 42 years. She told the court how she considered whether the murder met the threshold of a rare whole-life order, but decided it did not.

Read more: Olivia Pratt-Korbel's killer 'has £250k bounty on head' as gangsters fear murderer will 'grass' to get lighter sentence

Olivia Pratt-Korbel
Olivia was standing behind her mum in her family home when she was shot dead. . Picture: Alamy

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.

Following news that Cashman had refused to come out of his cell to face sentencing, a Ministry of Justice source said: "Olivia Pratt-Korbel and her family weren't able to hide from Thomas Cashman's crime - so he shouldn't be able to hide from justice.

"This is exactly why the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to changing the law so that offenders are forced to face the consequences of their actions."

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!".

Read more: Olivia Pratt-Korbel's killer 'demanded half his £100k hitman fee for wounding target even after he knew he killed girl'

Cheryl Korbel, (centre) mother of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, arrives at Manchester Crown Court on April 3, 2023
Cheryl Korbel, (centre) arrives at Manchester Crown Court with friends and family today. Picture: Alamy

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.

Read more: Olivia Pratt-Korbel's killer seen fleeing scene after shooting nine-year-old dead as he's found guilty of murder

Thomas Cashman, sketched at an earlier hearing, denies Olivia's murder
Thomas Cashman, sketched at an earlier hearing, denied Olivia's murder. Picture: Alamy

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.”