Olivia Pratt-Korbel screamed ‘mum, I’m scared’ just before being shot dead, jury told
Nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel screamed “Mum, I’m scared!” seconds before she was shot dead in her own home, a jury has heard.
She was standing on the stairs behind her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, when she was hit in the chest by a bullet fired by alleged gunman Thomas Cashman, Manchester Crown Court was told.
Seconds earlier, Olivia had been frightened out of bed and ran to her mother after hearing a commotion outside their home in Dovecot, Liverpool, as Cashman, 34, allegedly shot another man, Joseph Nee, at around 10pm on Monday August 22 last year.
Olivia’s mother had opened her front door to find out what was going on – when Nee, bleeding and injured, saw the light from her doorway and ran towards the house, trying to barge in to escape Cashman.
Ms Korbel, “in a panic” and screaming at Nee banging on the door, tried to shut it on him, as Cashman pursued his target and fired again with a revolver.
The bullet missed Nee, went through the front door, through Ms Korbel’s right hand and hit Olivia in the centre of her chest.
David McLachlan KC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury: “Cheryl Korbel said ‘I’ve been shot’.
“She turned round and saw her daughter, Olivia, at the bottom of the stairs – she referred to her as ‘the baby’, as we do in this area.
“She said ‘I remember when I turned round and realised the baby was right behind me … because she’d come … obviously come down the stairs ’cause she’d heard.
” … she went all floppy and her eyes went to the back of her head.
“And I realised that she must’ve been hit – because I didn’t know until then – and I lifted her top up and the bullet had got her right in the middle of the chest.”
Jurors were told that Olivia’s older brother, Ryan Korbel, described the schoolgirl running downstairs screaming: “Mum I’m scared”, then her sister, Chloe Korbel, heard their mother screaming that “Livia had been hit”.
Ms Korbel was saying to her stricken daughter “Stay with me, baby” as Nee slumped on the hallway floor.
Cashman tried to shoulder-charge the door open and then his arm came around the door, holding a black handgun, before another shot rang out, the bullet splintering the door frame.
A neighbour told police she was in bed when she heard two bangs outside, then two “muffled bangs” followed by “the worst screaming I’ve ever heard in my life”.
She then heard Chloe Korbel on the phone saying: “Where are they, where are they? She is dying.”
Armed police arrived at 10.11pm, with a Pc Cooper going inside the house as Pc Metcalf got a first aid kit out of the boot of the patrol car.
But they decided to take her straight to hospital.
Pc Metcalf could feel a faint heartbeat and Olivia’s eyes were open but her lips were blue and she was unresponsive.
On arrival at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the youngster was taken straight to the resuscitation room but was declared dead at 11.15pm.
Olivia’s mother was taken to Aintree Hospital for treatment to her right hand.
Nee had stumbled out of the house, collapsed in the middle of the road and used his mobile phone.
He was picked up by five men in a black car before police arrived.
Earlier, the court heard that Cashman had been stalking Nee that day, before pouncing in the street where Olivia lived.
Cashman fired three shots at Nee from a 9mm self-loading pistol, one shot hitting him in the midriff.
Nee stumbled but, as Cashman stood over him, his gun jammed and the victim ran to Olivia’s house to escape.
Cashman followed, the jury heard, “relentless” in his pursuit, swapping his misfiring gun for a second weapon, the revolver, when he fired and hit Olivia.
Jurors heard that Olivia’s mother had been unable to close the door properly on Nee as she had left it “on the snib” because two neighbours had come round for a cup of tea.
Mr McLachlan went on: “The shooting had gone horribly wrong.
“This is what this case is all about. This is serious business, as you will appreciate.
“The prosecution say it’s about the ruthless pursuit by Thomas Cashman to shoot Joseph Nee at all costs without any consideration for anyone else in the community.
“Thomas Cashman’s actions resulted in Joseph Nee being injured, Cheryl Korbel being injured and, most tragically of all in this case, Olivia Pratt-Korbel being killed.”
After the shooting Cashman fled to the house of a woman he knew, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
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 around four weeks, was adjourned until later on Tuesday.