Nottingham stabbings: prosecutors accept killer’s plea of manslaughter | UK news

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CPS accepts Valdo Calocane’s plea of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness over June 2023 attacks

Tue 23 Jan 2024 13.23 CET

Prosecutors have accepted the pleas of the Nottingham stabbings killer, who admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness.

Valdo Calocane, 32, who goes by the name Adam Mendes, admitted killing three people and trying to kill three others in the spate of violence in the early hours of 13 June last year.

At the start of sentencing proceedings at Nottingham crown court, prosecutor Karim Khalil KC described how the defendant carried out the “deliberate and merciless” attacks, after calling his brother to say: “This is the last time I will talk to you.”

His first victims were Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber, both 19-year-old Nottingham University students, who were walking home from a night out.

When they were just 200 metres from their accommodation, Calocane followed Webber and stabbed him repeatedly with a dagger.

“Grace, demonstrating incredible bravery, sought to protect her friend and fight off the killer, pushing him away and into the road,” Khalil said.

The defendant then fought with her for 30 seconds, stabbing her repeatedly, before returning to inflict further violence on Webber, who was lying in the road.

Witnesses described hearing “an awful, blood-curdling scream” and seeing O’Malley-Kumar crawl towards the houses on the opposite side of the road shouting for help. The CCTV footage of the attack, in which the killer emerged from a hiding place to fatally stab the pair, was not shown in court.

The killer appeared in the dock flanked by five people, including two NHS workers, wearing a black suit jacket with a light-coloured shirt and glasses. He did not react as details of the attacks were read out to the court.

The court was packed with the families of the three who were killed, as well as university friends of the students. Sobs could be heard as details of the attacks on the 19-year-olds were described in court.

CCTV footage played in court showed the killer walking calmly around the city in the hours before the attack.

After the first killings, Calocane called his brother and told him to take the family out of the country. When asked: “Are you going to do something stupid?”, Calocane replied: “It’s already done.”

He then attempted to break into Seely Hirst House, a hostel for vulnerable homeless adult men, admitting later he had intended to kill someone there, but was unable to gain entry.

Calocane then attacked school caretaker Ian Coates, who was driving past, stabbing him repeatedly and leaving him for dead.

He stole Coates’s van and drove into the city centre, where he drove into a number of pedestrians. Wayne Birkett, who was crossing the road, was flipped into the air and rolled on to the pavement, receiving multiple serious injuries, including a fractured skull, which caused a bleed to his brain.

He also drove at speed towards Sharon Miller and Marcin Gawronski, who were walking to work. Both were “extremely fortunate to survive the impact”, Khalil said.

The court heard how Calocane, who was born in Guinea-Bissau and came to the UK with his family in 2007 when he was 16, had been receiving treatment from mental health services since 2020, including being treated with anti-psychotic medication.

Khalil said that over the following years, Calocane, who has paranoid schizophrenia and was sectioned at least four times, “actively concealed symptoms of psychosis” and refused to take his medication.

On one occasion in 2020, he was admitted to hospital after breaking down two doors to different apartments in his block, and in 2021 he assaulted a police officer during a search of his flat in which a bag of unused medication was found.

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