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Face the Family

2128. Cheryl Korbel

Cheryl Korbel, from Liverpool, has campaigned for a law change compelling offenders to attend court for sentence hearings, following the murder of her 9-year-old daughter Olivia Pratt-Korbel in August 2022.

Cheryl Korbel

Thomas Cashman, who was convicted of Olivia’s murder, refused to attend court to hear the victim personal statements prepared by Cheryl and her family. Following this, Cheryl launched a ‘Face the Family’ campaign earlier this year, in partnership with Radio City, which saw a petition put to the Government calling for a legal change so that victims can look offenders in the eye and tell them of the devastating consequences of their crime as they read out their impact statement, rather than addressing an empty dock. The campaign saw a summit held in Liverpool in June to discuss reform, and Cheryl has also created a Butterfly Memorial Garden for Olivia.

The Prime Minister presented Cheryl with her award in person at Downing Street (pictured above. Photo credit: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street), on the same day that he announced reforms which will create a new power for judges to order an offender to attend their hearings and make it clear – in law – that force can be used to make sure this happens.

In a personal letter to Cheryl, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“You have shown such extraordinary courage and resilience in the wake of the appalling murder of your beloved daughter Olivia. I can scarcely begin to imagine the pain that you are living with every single day.

“It was so profoundly wrong that Olivia’s murderer could refuse to attend his sentencing and avoid hearing you explain the terrible suffering he has caused. So I was pleased to be able to tell you personally how we are going to change the law, so that courts can compel such offenders to be present for their sentencing and, if necessary, prison staff can use reasonable force to make them attend. 

“But most of all, I wanted to thank you again for your campaign and for all you have done to ensure that in future, offenders will “face the family”.

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