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Review ordered into decision to accept Nottingham triple killer’s manslaughter pleas

Families of Valdo Calocane’s victims say they were not consulted on decision to accept manslaughter pleas

Holly Evans
Tuesday 30 January 2024 15:34 GMT
'We will get answers', Sunak tells parents of Nottingham attack victims

An independent review has been ordered into the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to accept Nottingham triple killer Valdo Calocane’s guilty pleas to manslaughter and whether the families of the victims were sufficiently consulted.

Attorney general Victoria Prentis said she ordered an inspection less than a week after Calocane was sentenced “so we can properly investigate the concerns raised by the families”.

Calocane, 32, denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility for killing 19-year-old students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and 65-year-old Ian Coates.

He has a history of mental health issues and had been hospitalised four times since 2020, and was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out the attacks on 13 June last year.

Valdo Calocane was handed a hospital order after pleading guilty to manslaughter (PA)

Last week he was handed a hospital order for the “merciless” killings, with the families of his victims expressing disappointment that he was not jailed and claiming that they were not consulted on the decision to accept his lesser pleas.

Mr Webber’s family described the hospital order as a “huge insult” and called for a public inquiry into the case.

Speaking outside court, his mother Emma Webber said: “We as a devastated family have been let down by multiple agency failings and ineffectiveness.

“The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) did not consult us as has been reported – instead we have been rushed, hastened and railroaded. We were presented with a fait accompli that the decision had been made to accept manslaughter charges.”

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said independent investigations have been set up into Nottingham institutions’ role in alleged missed opportunities to stop Calocane before he stabbed the two students and caretaker to death.

The relatives of Calocane’s families leaving Downing Street (PA)

An inquiry could still be carried out, Mr Sunak said, but only if deemed necessary once the probes have concluded. He met with the victims’ relatives at Downing Street on Monday, while the families have also met with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

A special review has also been ordered into the mental health trust that treated him before the killings.

The healthcare watchdog has been asked to report by March on its findings of an investigation into the care Calocane received at Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.

It has since emerged that police failed to arrest Calocane for allegedly attacking two people at a factory just weeks before the stabbings.

Leicestershire Police said no one was seriously hurt in the assault and Calocane had reportedly been escorted off site by security before police arrived.

Emma Webber said the families were not consulted by the CPS (PA)

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has requested more information from the force and has also asked Nottinghamshire Police to give more details about a warrant issued for Calocane’s arrest in 2022 after he failed to appear in court for attacking a police officer.

History student Mr Webber and aspiring medic Miss O’Malley-Kumar were walking back to their university accommodation at around 4am when they were ambushed by Calocane and stabbed repeatedly.

After leaving them to die in the street, he travelled to Magdala Road and lured school caretaker Ian Coates from his van. He knifed him several times in the chest and abdomen before stealing his vehicle and driving it into the city centre, where he deliberately drove into three pedestrians.

Of the decision to order an independent review into the CPS, Ms Prentis said: “The senseless deaths of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates have horrified the country.

“While nothing will bring their loved ones back, the families understandably want to understand what happened in this case.

“That’s why I have asked the inspectorate to carry out a prompt and thorough review of CPS actions so we can properly investigate the concerns raised by the families in this devastating case.”

A CPS spokesperson said: “We will fully engage with the review.”

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