‘Duty on us all’ to secure justice for Olivia, says coroner

A coroner called for anyone with information about the shooting of Olivia Pratt-Korbel to do their “duty” and come forward, as he suspended her inquest while criminal proceedings take place.

The nine-year-old schoolgirl was fatally shot on Monday August 22 when a gunman chased convicted burglar Joseph Nee into her home in Dovecot, Liverpool.

Thomas Cashman, 34, has been charged with her murder and appeared in court earlier this week.

At an inquest review hearing on Thursday, senior coroner for Liverpool Andre Rebello said he would suspend inquest proceedings pending the outcome of the court case.

Thomas Cashman court case
Court artist sketch of Thomas Cashman in the dock at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

He said: “It is vitally important that anyone who has any information around this incident rings Crimestoppers or contacts Merseyside Police to give them that information as there is a duty on us all to actually ensure that justice is done.”

The short hearing, attended by four members of the media, heard that Olivia, whose middle name was Elouise, died at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Mr Rebello said a coroner’s officer had spoken to Olivia’s parents, Cheryl Korbel and John Francis Pratt.

He said Olivia’s death certificate could be provided to her family following the suspension of the inquest.

The court heard that the coroner’s investigation will only be resumed if there was good reason to do so.

Thomas Cashman court case
Nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead by a gunman who chased convicted burglar Joseph Nee into her home in Dovecot, Liverpool (Family handout/PA)

Mr Rebello said: “That ordinarily means if sufficient evidence is received in public, at the Crown Court, bearing upon who Olivia is, when and where she died and how she came by her medical cause of death then it is unlikely the matter will be resumed.

“If, on the other hand, criminal proceedings take a different course such that information hasn’t been aired then there is a good prospect the coroner will consider a resumption.”

Cashman, of Grenadier Drive, West Derby, was also charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life when he appeared in court on Monday.

He is next due to appear at Liverpool Crown Court for a plea hearing on January 10.

Paul Russell, 40, of Snowberry Road, West Derby, has been charged with assisting an offender.