Gunman ‘garden-hopped’ as he fled scene of shooting which killed Olivia, nine

The gunman accused of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel “garden-hopped” as he fled the scene after the shooting, a court has heard.

Thomas Cashman, 34, is accused of carrying out the attack in Dovecot, Liverpool, which killed Olivia and injured her mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, and Joseph Nee, who is said to be the intended target.

On the third day of the trial at Manchester Crown Court, the jury was told Cashman made a number of journeys earlier in the day past Finch Lane, where Nee was watching football at a friend’s house that evening.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel death
Cheryl Korbel (centre) mother of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, arrives with family members at Manchester Crown Court for the trial of Thomas Cashman (Peter Byrne)

The court heard a man alleged to be Cashman walked along Finch Lane at about 9.20pm and then was not seen on cameras again for more than half an hour.

Police investigator Caleb Suggitt said: “The person alleged to be Thomas Cashman stood somewhere within the area, not seen, for 36 minutes 56 seconds.”

CCTV showed Nee and friend Paul Abraham leaving the house on Finch Lane just before 10pm.

Mr Suggitt said: “The person alleged to be Thomas Cashman runs across Finch Lane onto Kingsheath Avenue after Joseph Nee and Paul Abraham.”

Two loud bangs could be heard on CCTV footage which showed Mr Abraham running away from the gunman.

Nee could be seen on the floor in front of the shooter before a third bang was heard.

The jury has been told Nee then ran towards the Korbel family home and was chased by his attacker, who fired through the front door, with the bullet hitting Ms Korbel in the hand and fatally wounding Olivia in the chest.

The court heard after the shooting, the gunman was next seen on Finch Lane at 10.02pm when he ran between two houses through an entry.

Mr Suggitt said: “That person runs from Finch Lane onto Berryford Road and then we see that person on Standedge Way.

“We don’t see that person return from Standedge Way, nor do we see them enter Berryford Road, therefore we know that person has garden-hopped from Standedge Way to Princess Drive.

At 10.06pm the man, dressed in black with reflective markings on his trousers, walked across Princess Drive.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel death
Nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel (Family handout/PA)

Mr Suggitt said he was not seen again after crossing the road.

The court heard Cashman denies being the gunman shown on CCTV.

Earlier, the jury was shown footage and maps of Cashman’s movements during the day, when he travelled around the Dovecot area in his Citroen Berlingo and on foot, passing Finch Lane on a number of occasions.

Cashman, of Grenadier Drive, Liverpool, denies the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Joseph 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, expected to last four weeks, will continue on Thursday.