Man accused of Olivia murder says he was ‘high-level’ drug dealer who made thousands each week

  • london
  • March 21, 2023
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Man accused of Olivia murder says he was 'high-level' drug dealer who made thousands each week thumbnail

The man accused of murdering Olivia Pratt-Korbel has told his trial he was a “high-level cannabis dealer”.

Thomas Cashman is charged with murdering the nine-year-old and injuring her mother after chasing a convicted drug dealer into their home in Liverpool last August.

He told Manchester Crown Court he was making between £3,000 and £5,000 per week selling about five to 10 kilos of marijuana.

“I would buy cars, bikes, save some, go on holidays and just spend it on stuff that I enjoyed basically,” Cashman said.

The 34-year-old – who has two children with his “childhood sweetheart” – said he left school in his early teens and by about 16 was working at a fair in Wales and smoking cannabis daily.

Cashman testified that he began selling it on a “small scale” around the time he was 18 and “basically smoking my profit”.

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Thomas Cashman denies murder and other charges

However by 2021, when Cashman and his family moved to a home in Grenadier Drive in Liverpool, he said he was selling at a “high level”.

“I only ever sold it in my area where I’ve been brought up, so everyone I sold it to was everyone I knew,” Cashman told the court.

He replied “yes” when asked by defence barrister John Cooper KC if he was a “high-level cannabis dealer”.

Cashman said his “catchment area” was around Finch Lane in the Dovecot area of Liverpool and the drugs were often dropped at his sister’s home in Mab Lane.

From there, they would be taken to whoever wanted to buy the drug – or to a friend’s property which he described as a “stash house”.

But Cashman said there were tensions as his sister’s boyfriend used to be a police officer.

“He didn’t like it and he got on my sister over it and they were having arguments between each other about me always being there,” he told the court.

The defendant testified that he knew Joseph Nee – the man he is accused of trying to kill – but that he never had any problem with him or his brothers.

He claimed he had been at the Nee family home to look at a new Audi owned by one of the brothers on the day before the shooting.

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Cheryl Korbel (centre), Olivia’s mother, was injured in the shooting

Cashman denied he was “scoping things out” during the visit, as well as the suggestion he made a “confession” to a key prosecution witness – a woman he was having a “fling” with.

The woman, who cannot be named, claims she overheard him say he had “done Joey” when he allegedly came to her home after the shooting and changed his clothes.

Cashman told jurors he had sold drugs to the woman’s boyfriend, who owed him £25,000, and that she had threatened to tell his partner about their relationship because he wouldn’t go to Spain to start a new life with her.

The defendant denies murdering Olivia, as well as the attempted murder of Mr Nee, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel, and two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The trial continues.