Police should have done more to arrest killer before he struck – senior officer

Valdo Calocane stabbed students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, last June.

Ellie Ng
Wednesday 24 January 2024 21:48 GMT
An artist’s impression of Valdo Calocane who was branded a ‘monster’ by families of his victims (Elizabeth Cook/PA)
An artist’s impression of Valdo Calocane who was branded a ‘monster’ by families of his victims (Elizabeth Cook/PA) (PA Wire)

Nottinghamshire Police should have done more to arrest Valdo Calocane before he stabbed three people to death on the city’s streets, a senior officer said.

Calocane was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he “deliberately and mercilessly” stabbed students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, in the early hours of June 13 last year.

The 32-year-old, formerly of Forest Fields, Nottingham, is expected to be sentenced on Thursday at the city’s Crown Court for three counts of manslaughter and three counts of attempted murder – relating to pedestrians he targeted on the same evening.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, who led the overall policing response to the incidents, said in a statement released by Nottinghamshire Police that the force had engaged with Calocane on a number of occasions between 2020 and 2022, mostly when supporting NHS staff.

I have personally reviewed this matter and we should have done more to arrest him

Asst Ch Con Rob Griffin, Nottinghamshire Police

In September 2021, police were requested to help section Calocane under the Mental Health Act and transported him to Highbury Hospital. During the incident, the defendant assaulted an officer.

In August 2022, Calocane was reported for summons and was due to attend court in September for that assault, but failed to appear and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

“The defendant was never arrested for that warrant which was still outstanding at the point of his arrest in June 2023,” Mr Griffin said.

“I have personally reviewed this matter and we should have done more to arrest him.

“However, because of the circumstance prevailing, at the time of the alleged assault, in my opinion it is highly unlikely that he would have received a custodial sentence.

“Of course, an arrest might have triggered a route back into mental health services but, as we have seen from his previous encounters with those services, it seems unlikely that he would have engaged in this process.”

Mr Griffin said the “devastating impact” of the “dreadful attacks” of June 13 are “immeasurable”.

On Tuesday, Calocane was branded “wicked”, a “monster” and a “menace to society” by family members of the three people he killed, as they delivered emotional impact statements and urged judge Mr Justice Turner to hand the defendant the harshest sentence possible.

Offering mitigation on behalf of Calocane on Wednesday, defence barrister Peter Joyce KC urged Mr Justice Turner not to consider a whole-life order.

Mr Joyce said schizophrenia had “stalked down” a man of previously impeccable character and behaviour.

Calocane pleaded guilty to three counts each of manslaughter and attempted murder.

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