Alleged killer of Olivia Pratt-Korbel admits he was 'high-level' drug dealer

·3-min read
Thomas Cashman
Thomas Cashman

The alleged gunman accused of killing schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel has admitted he was a “high-level cannabis dealer”.

Thomas Cashman also claimed he was a friend of the intended target of the shooting, Joseph Nee, and had been at Nee's mother’s house with him the day before the attack.

The 34-year-old is accused of shooting nine-year-old Olivia in her home while chasing convicted burglar Nee, 34, through the streets of Knotty Ash, Liverpool.

Giving evidence for the first time during his trial at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Cashman said he made up to £5,000 a week selling “grass” and “pollen”.

He told the court he would sell between 5kg and 10kg of cannabis a week.

He said his "catchment area" was around the Finch Lane area of Dovecot in Liverpool, and he would often have the drugs dropped at his sister's house in Mab Lane.

From there, he said, he would take them to whoever had asked for them, or to his friend's house, which he said was used as a "stash house".

Mr Cashman said he spent the money on cars, holidays, and "things he enjoyed".

Mr Cashman, a father of two, denied “scoping out” Nee before the shooting and claimed he had been friends with him for more than 10 years.

Cheryl Korbel (centre), the mother of Olivia - PA
Cheryl Korbel (centre), the mother of Olivia - PA

Olivia’s mother, Cheryl, and her brother Ryan, and sister Khloe were all in court to hear his evidence, as was Mr Cashman’s girlfriend, Kayleeanne Sweeney.

Prof John Cooper, KC, defending, asked Mr Cashman, who was wearing a knitted blue jumper and a white shirt, if he knew the Nee family.

Mr Cashman, who had to be asked to raise his voice several times in court, replied: “Joseph Nee and his brothers, they were all my friends. They have been for the last 10 years.

“We just live in the same area. We got to know each other through living in the same area as each other. I’ve never, ever had any problems with the Nee family they have always been my friends.”

He added: “If I was driving round and I’d see him, I’d always stop and speak to him. Always…

“He likes motorbikes and cars and I have motorbikes and cars.”

Olivia-Pratt Korbel - Nicholas Razzell
Olivia-Pratt Korbel - Nicholas Razzell

Mr Cashman told the court that the day before the shooting he had been at the Nee family house, with Joseph and his family.

He said: “Jamie Nee just got a brand new Audi RS6. They were talking about his new car that he’s just got…

Mr Cooper then asked Mr Cashman how things had been between Nee and himself when he left.

“All good, same as every time we see each other,” Cashman replied.

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