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Alleged killer of Olivia Pratt-Korbel faces murder charge in court

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he accused killer of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel sat with his head bowed as he appeared in the dock for the first time to face a murder charge.

Thomas Cashman, 34, is accused of killing Olivia when she was shot dead in her own home in Didcot, Liverpool on August 22.

The shooting happened as convicted burglar Joseph Nee fled from a gunman into Olivia’s home. The young girl’s mother Cheryl Korbel was also injured in the incident.

Cashman, of Grenadier Drive in the West Derby area of Liverpool, wore a light blue T-shirt and jeans as he entered the dock at Liverpool magistrates court on Monday morning.

Police motorcycles block the road to other traffic as a vehicle carrying Thomas Cashman arrives at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court

/ PA

There was a heavy police presence at the courthouse for the hearing, which was attended by members of Olivia’s family including her parents.

Cashman bowed his head during parts of the short hearing as he was remanded in custody until a first appearance at Liverpool Crown Court later on Monday.

Cashman is accused of the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of her mother, and the attempted murder of Mr Nee.

He also faces two allegations of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

A second defendant, Paul Russell, 40, of Snowberry Road, West Derby, has been charged with assisting an offender.

He is accused of driving Cashman to an address after the shooting, and also allegedly helped with the disposal of clothing.

Russell was remanded into custody until a hearing at Liverpool crown court on October 31.

The criminal charges were announced on Saturday after a wide-ranging murder hunt by Merseyside Police detectives who have made a total of 11 arrests.

Ahead of the court hearing, Olivia’s headteacher Rebecca Wilkinson at St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton said the nine-year-old “oozed kindness” and would be remembered for her smile.

“We have had counsellors in every class,” she said.

“(The children) are devastated at the loss of their friend, they truly are, but the counselling has definitely helped and we have been so proud of the resilience the children have shown since they’ve been back.”

Olivia’s funeral was held at St Margaret Mary’s Church in Knotty Ash last month. Pink ties, jackets, scarves and bows were worn by those attending the service after her family asked people to wear a “splash of pink”.

Ms Korbel carried a pink teddy bear into the service, during which she said: “Liv touched so many people’s hearts and was loved and adored by everyone. She will never be forgotten.

“I will never say goodbye but what I will say is goodnight, love you, see you in the morning.”

Neither Cashman nor Russell entered any pleas on Monday.

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