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Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s mother joins push for offenders to be made to attend sentencing

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The mother of murdered nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel is backing voices pushing for a change in the law that would force criminals to attend their sentencing.

It comes after Thomas Cashman, 34, refused to appear in the dock when he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Monday after a jury found him guilty of murdering the schoolgirl in her home in Liverpool in August last year.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Cheryl Korbel said she would “support a law that would force criminals to show up for sentencing.”

“Why should we go through all that and then he gets the option of not being there? It’s like a kick in the teeth,” Ms Korbel said.

“He was in that dock right through the trial and on the last day he said ‘I’m not going up’. It’s not fair.”

Cashman was found guilty of Olivia’s murder, the wounding with intent of Ms Korbel and the attempted murder of convicted drug dealer Joseph Nee.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 42 years.

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Thomas Cashman, 34, who has been found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel and injuring her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, at their family home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22 last year. Issue date: Thursday March 30, 2023.
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Thomas Cashman refused to appear in the dock for his sentencing

Farah Naz, the aunt of murdered law graduate Zara Aleena and Lisa Squire, whose 21-year-old daughter was raped and murdered in 2019, are among others pushing for the law change.

Read more on Sky News:
Dominic Raab plans to change law to compel ‘spineless criminals’ to attend their sentencing
Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s family member died hours before killer Thomas Cashman sentenced

Cheryl Korbel, (centre) mother of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, arrives at Manchester Crown Court
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Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel, (centre), arrives at Manchester Crown Court

“We were dragged right through that court case when we didn’t need to be. If he’d owned it from the beginning, we wouldn’t have had to be there,” Ms Korbel said.

“He’s just a coward – and that’s being polite.

“I’ve got some slight comfort from him being behind bars. But he’s still got a roof over his head, three square meals, access to gyms and this, that and the other.”

‘Spineless criminals’

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is planning to change the law to “compel” the “spineless criminals” to face up to their actions by possibly giving judges the power to impose longer terms on those who refuse to appear.

“As I have already made clear, I plan to change the law to compel offenders to face up to their actions, so victims can see the justice they deserve being served,” Mr Raab tweeted.

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