Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer’s gun ‘malfunctioned’ on intended target

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The jury in the trial of Thomas Cashman for the killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel heard that a Glock-style handgun malfunctioned as a shooter stood over his “intended target”, moments before the nine-year-old school girl was struck in the chest by a bullet. Manchester Crown Court heard that three shots were fired from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at Joseph Nee, who was walking with a friend in Dovecot, Liverpool, in August 2022.

Mr Nee was hit in the abdomen by one of the first two shots, fired in “quick succession”, as his friend Paul Abraham ran for his life.

The gunmen, CCTV footage showed, stood over Mr Nee as the third shot was heard. However, the 36-year-old still managed to get to his feet and make his escape.

Andre De Villiers Horne, a firearms expert and forensic scientist, told the jury that the empty cartridge from the third shot had not been recovered from the scene, which he said suggested it had jammed in the weapon. 

The Liverpool Echo reported that he said: “It is possible that the 9mm pistol used by the gunman may have malfunctioned during an apparent struggle. The cartridge case was not ejected as you would normally expect to happen.

“Because of the struggle, the firearm mechanism may have been prevented from operating as normal. You have a gun that malfunctioned. The cartridge case is still located within the gun, and that would have to be manually fixed before any more shots could be discharged.”

The gunman, after Mr Nee’s escape, switched to another weapon, a revolver, and fired two shots, one of which killed Olivia Pratt-Korbel, the other injured her mother Cheryl Korbel.

Prosecutors claim that the gunman that evening was 34-year-old Thomas Cashman from Grenadier Drive, West Derby, Liverpool.

Two bullets from a revolver were recovered from the scene, jurors heard. One from the front door of the Korbel family home and the other from Olivia’s body.

The deadly shot had passed through the front door of the property.

Cashman denies Olivia’s murder or any involvement in the shootings relating to Mr Nee or Olivia’s mother.

He also pleaded not guilty to 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.

The trial continues.

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