Nottingham victim Grace O’Malley-Kumar’s parents back calls for daughter to receive George Cross for bravery

Rishi Sunak would ‘absolutely’ support move to ensure Grace O’Malley-Kumar ‘is remembered forever’

Andy Gregory
Tuesday 30 April 2024 19:33 BST
Grace O'Malley-Kumar: Nottingham attack victim's brother pays tribute

The parents of Nottingham attack victim Grace O’Malley-Kumar have backed calls for their daughter to receive the George Cross award for bravery.

The 19-year-old medical student died trying to defend her friend Barnaby Webber from a “merciless” knife attack by Valdo Calocane, who stabbed the two friends to death as they walked home from a night out to celebrate the end of their exams last June.

Despite having the opportunity to flee, Grace fought for around 30 seconds before she also collapsed, witnesses said, after being stabbed 23 times by Calocane, who later went on to kill 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates and stealing his van in a failed attempt to kill pedestrians.

Grace O’Malley-Kumar was hailed for her ‘incredible bravery’ during her killer’s trial (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC told Nottingham Crown Court in January that the England under-18s hockey player had demonstrated “incredible bravery”, while MPs and police leaders have called for her to receive the highest civilian honour for courage.

“The George Cross would be a remarkable acknowledgement of her bravery, for sure,” her mother Sinead O’Malley told The Sun.

“Grace is never coming back to us, but we never want her to be forgotten, and this would certainly make sure she is remembered forever. Our hope is it would help her be remembered as the wonderful person that she was, and not just for the horrendous fate she suffered.”

Her father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar said: “The bravery she showed was incredible for a young girl. The accolade would be an example to every other young person.

“The foundation that we’ve set up for Grace — its motto is ‘Let’s be more like Grace’. The world, never mind just England, deserves people like Grace.”

Tragic footage shows Nottingham attack victims' final movements

Asked about the calls on Tuesday, Downing Street said Rishi Sunak would “absolutely” back such a move.

“I think the prime minister would certainly want to get behind nominations and he’d pay tribute to the bravery that Grace demonstrated whilst faced with perilous and terrifying circumstances,” Mr Sunak’s spokesperson said.

“Decisions around the George Cross are made by an independent committee to review, and final decisions are then made by His Majesty the King. But of course, the prime minister would support those nominations.”

Barnaby Webber was one of three people fatally stabbed during the incident (Nottinghamshire Police/PA) (PA Media)

The spokesperson added: “The leadership example she provided in that tragic circumstance was commendable and absolutely the PM would get behind that campaign.”

Marco Longhi, a Tory MP who sits on the Commons home affairs commitee, had also suggested the civilian bravery award would “be a fitting legacy for her heroism” and “selfless bravery”.

The George Cross has been awarded just 160 times since it was introduced in 1940.

Additional reporting by PA

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