I was smoking a joint at time of Olivia Pratt-Korbel murder, accused tells jury

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The man accused of killing Olivia Pratt-Korbel has told a court he was counting £10,000 of cash and smoking a “spliff” around the time of the shooting.

Thomas Cashman, 34, who is charged with murdering the nine-year-old, said a woman who claimed she heard him confess was “trying to ruin his life”, as he gave evidence for a second day at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday.

A gunman shot Olivia and injured her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, after chasing convicted drug dealer Joseph Nee into their home in Dovecot, Liverpool, at about 10pm on August 22 last year.

Cashman, who has admitted being a “high-level cannabis dealer”, said at about 9.15pm that night he was with friend Craig Byrne, who had picked him up from where he parked his van on Aspes Road.

He added: “We counted money then went downstairs, I done myself a spliff in the kitchen, went in the back garden and was having just a general chit-chat with Craig.”

He said when he later went into the front garden, he could hear sirens and was told by someone there were “police everywhere”.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard from a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who had a fling with Cashman, a father-of-two with a partner of 22 years.

Thomas Cashman court case
Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead in her home in Liverpool (Family handout/PA).

Asked if at any stage he did confess, Cashman said: “No, I did not, she’s trying to ruin my life.

“She is trying to ruin my life because, for one thing, I won’t leave my partner for her. There’s loads of reasons.”

Cashman also claims the woman’s boyfriend owed him a £25,000 drug debt so she wanted him, “out of the way”.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel death
Cheryl Korbel, centre, was wounded in the shooting in which her daughter died (Peter Byrne/PA)

John Cooper KC, defending, went over in detail the numerous movements of Cashman in the local area, caught on CCTV and doorbell cameras, on the day of Olivia’s murder.

Prosecutors allege Cashman walked and travelled in his van around the area ahead of a plan to find Mr Nee and execute a “hit”.

But Cashman denied his movements showed he was planning the alleged hit on Mr Nee and were instead to do with his cannabis dealing.

He said his various movements were to do with him dropping off drugs and collecting money at various addresses in Dovecot and sometimes “socialising” by having a spliff with friends.

Mr Cooper said: “It’s suggested that the purpose of your movements was not for the reason you say, but either for the reason of executing a hit or planning a hit?”

Cashman replied: “No, that’s not true whatsoever. What you see here is typical of a local lad who sells cannabis in the area.”

Cashman, of Grenadier Drive, Liverpool, denies the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Mr 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 continues.

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