Olivia’s great-grandmother died the night before killer’s sentencing

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The great-grandmother of Olivia Pratt-Korbel died the night before her killer was sentenced, after holding out long enough to hear he had been found guilty, a court has heard.

Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, took a teddy made from her daughter’s pyjamas into the witness box at Manchester Crown Court as she read a statement at the sentencing of Thomas Cashman.

Cashman, 34, who was found guilty of Olivia’s murder last week after a trial, was not in court to hear the emotional family statements after refusing to come up from the cells.

Thomas Cashman
Thomas Cashman at Manchester Crown Court (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

She said she had not been able to spend “enough quality time” with her grandmother because her main focus had been the trial.

Ms Korbel said the 92-year-old had “held out long enough to hear that coward had been found guilty”.

She added: “Sadly, my nan passed away last night.”

“When I was told she passed away I felt as though my heart had stopped beating.

“A piece of me left with her that night and since then I have felt as though I am in a nightmare I can’t wake up from.”

In a statement read to the court, Olivia’s father John Francis Pratt asked Cashman, who was not in court to hear the question: “What gives you the right to think you can shoot into what should have been a safe place for Olivia that evening?

“We will never be a whole family again and you did that to us.”

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