Police missed chance to catch Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s drug-dealing murderer before shooting
The drug dealing gangster who murdered schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel could have been apprehended two weeks earlier after he was suspected of involvement in shooting in broad daylight near a children’s playground, the Telegraph can reveal.
Thomas Cashman, 34, was attempting to kill convicted burglar Joseph Nee on the night of Aug 22 when his bungled hit went wrong and he gunned down the nine-year-old inside her own home.
It can now be revealed that just a fortnight earlier, the same Glock handgun - which was one of two used in the attack on Nee - was involved in a drive-by shooting that took place at Ackers Hall park, a short distance from Olivia’s home.
Nobody was injured in the attack and the gunman was not apprehended, but it is believed that Nee was the intended target and Cashman the suspected gunman.
The incident involved a drive-by shooting in which a gunman opened fire from a dark car at a man who was riding an e-bike.
Bullet casings recovered from the scene of the incident on Aug 8 matched some of those used by Cashman on the night Olivia was murdered.
She was killed by a bullet from a 0.38 calibre revolver, and neither that nor the Glock have been recovered.
Det Supt Mark Baker, the senior investigating officer, said: “We don't know where the Glock is. We don't know where it’s from.
“The two guns that were used, obviously there’s a revolver which has not been recovered and there is the Glock. That has not been recovered either.”
During 2022, there were 49 shootings across Merseyside, according to police, including five incidents where people lost their lives.
Members of the community angry at the tide of gun violence sweeping Merseyside believe police should have done more to find the gunman responsible for the Ackers Hall park attack.
Despite the fact there were no reported injuries in the attack, the shooting took place just yards from where children had been playing in the popular park.
Speaking after Olivia’s murder, one resident called Maureen said she feared for the safety of children in the local area because of the risk posed by the armed criminal gangs.
She said her daughter “sits in the front window playing her PlayStation and could easily have been hit by a stray bullet”, adding: “It’s not safe for children around here - you’re not even safe in your own home. You hardly see any kids in the playground anymore.”
Residents also claimed that the police had turned up in numbers after the drive-by incident on Aug 8, but then “just left”.
There were also claims by residents that the police had failed to clean up the area properly following the incident at Ackers Hall park, with bullet cases left lying around.
During the trial, Cashman attempted to claim he and Nee were friends and he had no reason to harm him.
But underworld sources have told The Telegraph that Nee - a convicted drug-dealer and burglar - had become a marked man after a cannabis farm Cashman was linked with, was robbed.