Her mother claims that a drug dealer who killed a nine-year-old daughter was kept away from her family in the dock during his trial because they were “intimidating.”
The murder of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, who was murdered in Dovecot, Liverpool, after Thomas Cashman, 34, pursued another man into her home, resulted in a minimum sentence of 42 years in prison for Cashman.
After Cashman failed to show up in court as he was sentenced to life in prison, Olivia’s mother, Cheryl Korbel, has been advocating for a reform in the law to require defendants to attend their sentencing hearings.
Ms. Korbel, who was hurt in Cashman’s attack as well, told BBC Breakfast that the sentencing hearing was the family of Olivia’s chance to have a “voice” and deliver statements outlining the effects of what had happened.
She said of her daughter’s killer: “He’s a coward.
“Right through the trial, even when he was in the dock, there was a blind down constantly.
“He couldn’t see me or any of the family.
“Apparently, we got told, that we were intimidating.
“I wanted to address him. I think that’s why he never came up, because he would have been able to see me.”
She added: “I wanted him to understand the pain that he’s caused, the pain that we went through and the pain we are still going through.”
Ms. Korbel made an appearance on the show together with her relatives Kim Alcock and Antonia Elverson, all of whom were wearing sweaters bearing an image of Olivia.
Ms Alcock said: “We do not want another family to go through what we did.
“It feels a little like we haven’t got full closure because he hasn’t heard how he’s impacted our whole family, taking our baby away from us.
“It might not have been intentional but he’s done it and we now need the law changed for no-one else to go through this, for other families to get that closure that we didn’t get.”
The government is committed to advancing legislation that will allow criminals to be forced to attend their sentencing hearings, according to Justice Secretary Alex Chalk’s statement from last month.
The commitment made by Mr. Chalk’s predecessor, Dominic Raab, is still “in place,” according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who did not specify if legislation will be submitted before the anticipated 2024 general election.
The murderers of Zara Aleena and Sabina Nessa were also sentenced without them since they declined to show up for the proceedings.
Jordan McSweeney, a sex offender, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 38 years after killing Ms. Aleena, a 35-year-old law graduate, as she walked home in the east London neighbourhood of Ilford.
After coming to London to carry out an attack on an unidentified woman, Koci Selamaj killed primary school teacher Ms. Nessa and was sentenced to life in prison plus at least 36 years.