The mother of murdered nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel has joined the chorus of voices pushing for a change in the law that would force all criminals to attend their sentencing, after Thomas Cashman sat in his cell while his sentence was read.
Cashman, 34, refused to appear in the dock when he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Monday after a jury found him guilty of murdering the schoolgirl in her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22 last year.
“Why should we go through all that and then he gets the option of not being there? It’s like a kick in the teeth,” Ms Korbel said.
“He was in that dock right through the trial and on the last day he said ‘I’m not going up’. It’s not fair.”
Farah Naz, the aunt of murdered law graduate Zara Aleena and Lisa Squire, whose 21-year-old daughter was raped and murdered in 2019, have among others pushing for the law change.
“We were dragged right through that court case when we didn’t need to be. If he’d owned it from the beginning, we wouldn’t have had to be there,” Ms Korbel said.
“He’s just a coward – and that’s being polite. I’ve got some slight comfort from him being behind bars. But he’s still got a roof over his head, three square meals, access to gyms and this, that and the other.”
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is planning to change the law to “compel” the “spineless criminals” to face up to their actions by possibly giving judges power to impose longer terms on those who refuse to appear.