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Man suspected of shooting Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, says ‘it wasn’t me’, jury told
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The man accused of killing nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel "says it wasn't him", a jury was told.
The trial of Thomas Cashman, 34, got under way at Manchester Crown Court today (Monday, March 6).
Olivia was shot in the chest at her family home in Liverpool on August 22 last year after stranger Joseph Nee, 35, burst in while fleeing a gunman – alleged to be Cashman.
Cashman has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Olivia, the attempted murder of Mr Nee and to wounding Olivia's mum Cheryl Korbel with intent to inflict GBH, reports The Liverpool Echo.
He also denies two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, namely a 9mm calibre self-loading pistol and a 0.3 calibre revolver.
Today the trial judge, Mrs Justice Amanda Yip, introduced the case to the jury panel. She told them in court: "The trial concerns a shooting in Liverpool in August of last year which involved the death of a nine-year-old girl called Olivia Pratt-Korbel
"The defendant is Thomas Cashman. He is charged with murdering Olivia….
"In simple terms, he says it wasn’t him."
A jury of 10 men and two women was selected, with two men acting as reserve jurors until the end of the prosecution opening.
After the jurors were sworn in, Justice Yip told them: "Naturally the death of any child is a sensitive topic, one where it’s normal to experience emotional reaction.
"It’s important to put those emotions aside so you can properly consider the case to arrive at the right verdicts. You may well have seen or read things about the case. That isn’t a problem.
“You will have the evidence presented to you, the issues will be made clear and you will decide whether the prosecution have made you sure of Mr Cashman’s guilt.
“You are coming to it from scratch. Anything you have seen before, put it out of your mind."
Earlier in the day, the family of Olivia arrived at court ahead of the trial.
Mum Cheryl Korbel arrived with other family members including siblings Chloe and Ryan and aunties Antonia and Kim. Dad, John Francis Pratt, was also in attendance.
Cashman arrived at court with an armed police escort.
David McLachlan, KC, will open the prosecution case tomorrow morning.
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