Court Upholds Life Sentence for Thomas Cashman in Murder Case

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1349
Judgment on

Introduction

The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) addressed the appeal in the case of Thomas Cashman v R, scrutinizing the principles applied in the conviction and sentencing of Mr. Cashman. This case garnered notable attention due to the tragic circumstances surrounding the offenses committed by Mr. Cashman, namely the murder of young Olivia Pratt-Korbel and the attempted murder of Joseph Nee.

Key Facts

Thomas Cashman was convicted on five counts, including the murder of a child, attempted murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and possessing firearms with intent to endanger life. The offenses occurred during Mr. Cashman’s pursuit of Mr. Nee, where a chase led to the shooting at the home of Cheryl Korbel, resulting in the fatal shooting of her daughter, Olivia, and the wounding of Ms. Korbel herself.

Upon conviction, Cashman was given life imprisonment with a minimum term of 42 years, adjusted by the time spent on remand. The sentence accounted for the totality of his offenses, including the planning and premeditation of the attempted murder, the use of two firearms, and the disregard for the safety of others.

Several key principles underpin the ruling of the case:

  1. Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999: A reporting restriction order was applied, demonstrating the court’s ability to restrict reporting to protect certain individuals involved in criminal proceedings.

  2. Sentencing Act 2020: Schedule 21 of the act provided the statutory framework for establishing a starting point for sentencing in the context of murder involving the use of a firearm. The judge rightly identified a starting point of 30 years in line with Schedule 21, para. 3(2)(b).

  3. Aggravating and Mitigating Factors: The court considered both the aggravating factors, such as the high degree of planning and premeditation, the targeting of a victim, and the lack of statutory mitigating features. The absence of history of violent offenses by Cashman did not materially affect the aggravating factors in this case.

  4. Related Jurisprudence: The submission referred to R v Reeves [2023] EWCA Crim 384, along with other decisions of the court. However, these were deemed not comparable due to the unique circumstances of each case and did not serve to mitigate the sentence.

  5. Principle of Totality: The judge’s sentence reflected the principle of totality, considering the seriousness of the combination of offenses and associating them with the murder conviction.

Outcomes

The Court held that the life sentence and minimum term were appropriately applied to the case facts. The sentence was found to be merited, reflecting the extreme seriousness of the crimes, which included murder, attempted murder, and wounding with the intent of grievous bodily harm. The appeal against the sentence was refused, upholding the ruling from the lower court.

Conclusion

In the case of Thomas Cashman v R, the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) underlined the grave nature of the offenses and the appropriate application of the legal principles governing sentencing. The case exemplifies the court’s commitment to ensuring justice is administered while considering all aspects of the crime. A systematic approach to sentencing, integrating relevant sentencing guidelines and consideration of aggravating and mitigating factors, resulted in the confirmation of a lengthy prison sentence reflecting the total severity of the offenses.

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