Child killer Thomas Cashman attempted to take out Joseph Nee hours before the botched hit which saw Olivia Pratt-Korbel shot dead in August last year.
Nee was the target when the nine-year-old was struck in her home in Liverpool. Cashman, of West Derby, Liverpool, had planned to carry out his premeditated plan on the afternoon of the same day but was foiled because his intended victim went to Screwfix.
Cashman, 34, spent much of August 22 patrolling the area around nearby Finch Lane, his trial heard.
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Liverpool Echo reports he spotted a Volkswagen Transporter belonging to convicted burglar and drug dealer Nee parked up on this street in the early afternoon outside the home of a man called Timothy Naylor, where he would later watch football.
The two men visited Aintree Retail Park, shopping in Currys and American Golf before getting food from Subway. They then returned to Finch Lane, with Nee helping Mr Naylor set up a TV he had purchased.
It was at this time that Cashman passed by the address in his own van, a Citroen Berlingo. In a change of dark clothing, he then appeared on CCTV footage at the junction of Berryford Road and Finch Lane shortly before 4pm.
Cameras captured him stood on the street corner with his face covered, peering over in the direction of Mr Naylor's home before doing a sudden "about turn". Nee's van was no longer there.
Unbeknown to Cashman, he had left the area around half an hour earlier and travelled back to Aintree Retail Park in order to visit Screwfix. This was a trip that may well have saved his life, as the prosecution alleged that Cashman had been out to shoot Nee dead at this point.
The hitman continued to keep tabs on Finch Lane throughout the day however. He took a total of 12 trips past Mr Naylor's home in the afternoon and evening of August 22.
Crucially, one such visit came only minutes after the game had kicked off. Nee's van was back on Finch Lane at this time, exactly where Cashman wanted him.
Jurors heard during a three-and-a-half-week trial that when Nee left the address with another man, Paul Abraham, the gunman approached them from behind and opened fire with a self-loading Glock-style pistol. A chilling piece of CCTV footage showed Mr Abraham running for his life as two loud bangs rang out.
David McLachlan KC, prosecuting, described how Cashman had "murder on his mind" and stood over the helpless 35-year-old and attempted to discharge the firearm again as he begged: "Please don't, don't lad".
He then went on his ruthless attack and entered the home of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who said “I’m scared Mummy” as she heard the commotion outside.
Cashman was unanimously found guilty of Olivia's murder, attempting to murder Joseph Nee, wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm against Cheryl Korbel and two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 42 years.
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