Nottingham attacks: Court accepts triple killer’s guilty plea

  • By Gavin Bevis and Press Association
  • BBC News

Image caption,

Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar died at the scene of the attacks

Prosecutors have accepted a plea of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility from the man who stabbed three people in Nottingham.

Students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, died after being attacked on 13 June.

Valdo Calocane denied murder but admitted manslaughter in November.

His pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter were accepted at Nottingham Crown Court.

They were accepted on the basis of diminished responsibility due to “serious” mental illness, the hearing was told.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC said the families of the victims had been consulted before the prosecution decided to accept the pleas entered.

Calocane, who answered to the name Adam Mendes in court, also admitted attempting to murder three pedestrians who were hit by a van on the morning of the attacks.

The 32-year-old now faces a sentencing hearing expected to last for about two days.

Image source, Nottinghamshire Police

Image caption,

Calocane was arrested shortly after the attacks

University of Nottingham students Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar were walking home to their student accommodation after an end-of-term night-out when they were fatally stabbed in Ilkeston Road just after 04:00 BST.

Mr Coates was found dead with knife injuries in Magdala Road after his van was stolen.

Pedestrians Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller were then driven at in Milton Street and Upper Parliament Street, in the city centre.

Officers stopped the van in Milton Street and Calocane was arrested.

‘Incredible bravery’

Mr Khalil said Mr Webber had been stabbed “repeatedly” with a dagger, inflicting “grave injuries” and causing him to fall to the floor.

Ms O’Malley-Kumar showed “incredible bravery” and tried to protect her friend, fighting and pushing Calocane into the road, but the killer then turned his attention to her and was “as uncompromisingly brutal in his assault”, he added.

Family members in the public gallery sobbed as Mr Khalil told the court Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s injuries were too severe and she collapsed as Mr Webber tried to defend himself from the ground, kicking out at his attacker, before Calocane “calmly” walked away.

The court was told he made his way from the scene of the initial double killing to a residential hostel in Mapperley Road, where he arrived at about 05:00 BST.

At 05:04 BST he tried to gain access to the premises through ground floor windows, but “retreated” after being confronted by an occupant who punched him in the face.

Ian Coates, who was driving his Vauxhall van in nearby Magdala Road, was repeatedly stabbed, suffering wounds to his abdomen and chest, at about 05:14 BST.

Mr Khalil told the court: “The defendant then took Ian Coates’ van, leaving him for dead.”

Mr Coates was discovered by members of the public shortly after 05:30 BST, found to be unresponsive and was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics and police arrived

Mr Khalil said that three psychiatrists had assessed Calocane, concluding that despite suffering paranoid schizophrenia he would have understood the nature of his conduct in attacking three of his victims with a dagger described in court as “a double-edged fighting knife”.

The prosecutor said: “We have also consulted with the families of the deceased.

“We considered carefully representations made in the course of those consultations; we also considered the particular gravity and complexity of this case, including that which we submit are the grossly aggravating factors of the multiplicity of fatal and intended fatal offending.

“In these circumstances, the Crown concluded that it was appropriate to accept the pleas to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.

“For the avoidance of any possible doubt, it is the Crown’s position that the appalling facts of this case render it to be one of the utmost seriousness.”

Calocane’s barrister Peter Joyce KC told a previous hearing the defendant “does not dispute the physical facts of the prosecution’s case” but was suffering from “extreme” mental illness at the time of the incident.

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