A new law has been proposed to force criminals to 'Face the Family' after Cheryl Korbel's campaigning.

After nine-year-old Olivia Korbel was tragically killed in her home last year, killer Thomas Cashman refused to appear in the dock to be sentenced after his trial.

Olivia's mother Cheryl was among those who urged for a law change which has now been proposed by the Ministry of Justice.

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St Helens Star: 9-year-old Olivia was tragically killed in her home last August9-year-old Olivia was tragically killed in her home last August (Image: Merseyside Police)

The new proposals would give judges the power to order criminals to attend hearings, with custody officers able to use "reasonable force" to make offenders appear in the dock or via video link.

Those who do not appear for sentencing could also face an extra two years in jail if they ignore a judge's order - with the new penalties applying in cases where the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

St Helens Star: Cheryl Korbel has been fighting for a law change since Thomas Cashman's sentencingCheryl Korbel has been fighting for a law change since Thomas Cashman's sentencing (Image: PA)

The Face the Family campaign, supported by the PCC, brought people together to pressure the Government to accelerate a change in legislation.

Speaking at a summit in June calling for a change in the law, Cheryl Korbel said: "It's a long time doing that impact statement and really hard.

"Then to turn up at court and he doesn't turn up.

"To go through the whole trial process, having been cocky because he thought he was going to get away with it which was annoying as well because as much as we wanted to react to that, we never. We stayed calm, dignified, it hurts.

"These offenders need to know the impact it's causing on the victims."

St Helens Star: Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily SpurrellMerseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell (Image: Merseyside Police & Crime Commissioner)

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “I welcome today’s news that the Government have committed to enshrine the Face the Family campaign in law.

“This announcement is testament to the tireless campaigning of Cheryl Korbel and other bereaved families who have battled to improve the system for others.

“Victims and families show incredible strength, often reliving their experiences in open court, and for many seeing the perpetrator sentenced is a crucial step in their process of gaining some closure. Despicable individuals like Thomas Cashman should be made to listen to those whose lives they have shattered and face up to the devastating consequences of their abhorrent actions.

“This isn’t a huge change in the law, but it is an important step in helping to shift the power balance, putting the needs of victims before offenders and ensuring those have suffered have their voices heard.”

While powers already exist to compel criminals to attend hearings, and offenders can be held in contempt of court if they refuse to do so, these new proposals would put the judge’s ability to increase sentences by two years in legislation.

Equally, the use of force by prison officers would be enshrined in law.