Families of the Nottingham stabbing victims today raged that triple killer Valdo Calocane had ‘got away with murder’ as they accused officials of ‘railroading’ them into accepting manslaughter charges and slammed ‘failings’ that left him on the streets.
Emma Webber, mother of student Barnaby Webber, 19, who was killed alongside his friend Grace O’Malley-Kumar, also 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, on June 13 last year, said Nottinghamshire Police had ‘blood on your hands’.
Earlier, judge Mr Justice Turner said the 32-year-old paranoid schizophrenic would ‘very probably’ be detained in a high security hospital for the rest of his life as he sentenced him for the ‘atrocious’ killings and the attempted murder of three others.
Speaking on the steps outside Nottingham Crown Court after the sentencing hearing concluded, Emma said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) only met with the bereaved families on November 24.
She said: ‘We were presented with a fait accompli that the decision had been made to accept manslaughter charges. At no point during the previous five-and-a-half-months were we given any indication that this could conclude in anything other than murder.
‘We trusted in our system, foolishly as it turns out. We do not dispute that the murderer is mentally unwell and has been for a number of years.
‘However the pre-mediated planning, the collection of lethal weapons, hiding in the shadows and brutality of the attacks are that of an individual who knew exactly what he was doing. He knew entirely that it was wrong but he did it anyway.’
Addressing Nottinghamshire Police’s assistant chief constable Rob Griffin, the bereaved mother said: ‘If you had just done your jobs properly, there’s a very good chance our beautiful boy would be alive today.
‘There is so much more to say and clearly serious questions regarding this case and events leading up to this monster being out in society.
‘But for today, our darling son, his dear friend Grace, and a wonderfully kind grandfather Ian have been stolen from us forever and let down by the very system that should have been protecting them.’
Ian’s son James called for the services and organisations involved to be made accountable for failings in the case.
He said: ‘My family has suffered a great loss. The children who my father had a positive impression on have suffered a great loss.
‘The city of Nottingham has suffered a great loss. The failures from the police, the CPS, the health service have resulted in the murder of my father and these two innocent students.
‘The NHS mental health trusts have to be held accountable for their failures along with the police.
‘All we can do is hope that in due course some sort of justice will be served. This man has made a mockery of the system and he has got away with murder.’
Meanwhile, Grace’s father said his family would ‘forever’ troubled by the ‘missed opportunities’ to potentially prevent the attack.
Dr Sanjoy Kumar said: ‘While we have never questioned this man’s diagnosis, the lack of toxicology, contemporaneous mental health assessment, as well as missed opportunities to divert his lethal path will forever play on our minds and this requires further review.
‘We will look for answers regarding missed opportunities to intervene and prevent this horrendous crime.’
Calocane showed no emotion in the dock and stood with his hands by his side as Mr Justice Turner sentenced him to be re-admitted to and detained at Ashworth High Security Hospital on Merseyside, where has been since November.
Addressing the killer, Mr Justice Turner said: ‘You committed a series of atrocities in this city which ended the lives of three people. Your sickening crimes both shocked the nation and wrecked the lives of your surviving victims and the families of them all.’
He said the ‘harrowing’ details of the attacks have been ‘fully recounted and explored’ in court over the past days and Calocane sentenced many relatives and friends to ‘a life of grief and pain’.
The judge told the triple killer: ‘There was never any doubt that it was you who had committed these appalling crimes.
‘It soon became clear however, that the central issue in this case would relate to whether at the time of committing these offences you were suffering from symptoms of severe mental disorder.’
The judge added that the psychiatric evidence did not detract from the ‘horror’ and ‘disastrous’ impact of the offences, but he said, in his view, Calocane’s abnormality of mind had ‘significantly contributed’ to him perpetrating the string of attacks.
Despite being detained in hospital, Mr Justice Turner said he still ‘remains dangerous’.
Chilling CCTV emerged today showing how the day of horror unfolded, with Calocane filmed arriving in Nottingham by train before prowling the streets for hours.
Barnaby and Grace are seen walking home from a nightclub at 4am on June 13, moments before the killer leapt out of a darkened alley and brutally attacked them. A 999 caller who came across their bodies is heard describing the unimaginable scene to police, saying: ‘Oh no…it was awful’
Calocane is then filmed casually walking away and trying to break into a homeless hostel – only to be punched in the face by a resident. He is next seen ramming into three pedestrians in the white van. Bodycam footage shows his dramatic arrest by Taser-wielding police just minutes later. Nottinghamshire Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for investigation after it emerged that a marked police vehicle was following Calocane after he had already struck one man, but moments before he deliberately drove into two pedestrians who were walking to work across a central reservation at a junction of Market Street.
However, the IOPC has ruled the the police car was not in pursuit and could not have foreseen the collision.
Before Calocane’s sentencing this morning, one of Ian Coates’ sons was applauded after standing up in courtroom one to make an impromptu address.
Speaking towards the families of Barnaby and Grace he said: ‘No matter what the outcome is our family are here for you from now until whenever. I am so sorry that we had had to go through this and this is how we have met.
‘If I don’t manage to stay the whole day because I can’t keep my mouth shut, I apologise. But we are in the same boat.’
Relatives of those killed and injured in the attacks, sitting in the public gallery, responded by applauding his remarks.
Earlier, his 38-year-old son, James, said he feels only hatred towards his father’s killer.
He told the BBC: ‘He is, to me, the most evil person on this planet. He went out and brutally massacred three people and then attempted to kill another three, but luckily he was caught.’
James’ brother Lee added: ‘The guy is a coward. He honed in on weak and vulnerable young students, weak and vulnerable old people.’
Yesterday Calocane’s barrister referred to a litany of incidents where he came to the attention of the authorities in the three years leading up to his killing spree – yet he was continually released.
Peter Joyce KC urged the judge not to consider a whole-life order, saying paranoid schizophrenia is an ‘unwanted visitor’ which ‘stalked down’ a man of previously impeccable character and behaviour.
Calocane set upon Grace and Barnaby as they walked home from a nightclub. Witnesses described England hockey player Grace’s ‘heroic’ attempts to protect her friend against the crazed killer.
Yesterday, her parents Sinead O’Malley and Dr Sanjoy Kumar said there needed to be a ‘massive deterrent’ against using knives, and called on the Government to ‘urgently’ address the issue.
They spoke out as Nottinghamshire Police admitted officers ‘should have done more’ to arrest Calocane, who was wanted for arrest at the time of the rampage.
Calocane’s barrister told a court that the police, the NHS and the University of Nottingham, from where Calocane had graduated a year before the killings, were all aware of his behaviour.
Ms O’Malley, a consultant anaesthetist, said carrying a knife was ‘no different’ to carrying a gun.
She told BBC Breakfast: ‘I believe there has to be mandatory prison sentences for carrying a knife.
‘It is not just an offensive weapon or something you could eat your food with. It is a lethal weapon.’
Dr Kumar, a GP, described knife crime in England as an ‘epidemic’, and said ‘it feels like nothing is being done about it’.
There is currently no minimum sentence for people caught carrying a knife for the first time. Whether or not a prison sentence is imposed depends on culpability, harm or aggravating and mitigating factors.
For those aged over 18, a minimum sentence of six months’ custody applies if someone has been caught with a knife before. The maximum penalty is either four years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
For 16 and 17-year-olds, the equivalent is a four-month detention order.
Calocane’s barrister Peter Joyce KC said that by the time of the killings last June Calocane had been ‘wanted on warrant for nine months in this very city’ for the assault of a police officer.
‘And what was the police officer doing when he was arrested? He was trying to detain him under the Mental Health Act,’ he said.
‘The police knew how he was behaving because they took him to the mental hospital several times.
‘The doctors knew how he was behaving because they had him in their care several times. The nurses saw it several times.’
He added that there had been an incident when the university also referred Calocane to mental health services.
Nottingham Crown Court heard from psychiatrists on Wednesday who discussed Calocane’s mental state, with one telling the packed court room that Calocane heard voices telling him he needed to kill people or his family would be hurt.
His barrister also told the court the defendant once visited MI5‘s London headquarters, asking them to stop ‘controlling him’.
Mr Joyce said: ‘He [Calocane] tried to surrender to MI5 at their headquarters to try and stop them controlling him.
‘That’s not a concoction by him.
‘There is a photograph taken by their systems at Thames House, saying ‘please arrest me’ – effectively ‘stop controlling me’.’
Mr Joyce said the incident happened on May 31, 2021, about two years before the ‘desperate episode’ in which three people were killed on the streets of Nottingham.
Dr Leo McSweeney, a consultant psychiatrist, said the defendant ‘felt pressure’ to kill people otherwise something ‘atrocious’ would happen to his family.
Describing their first meeting in November, he said: ‘He explained he had experienced pressure, voice and persecutory beliefs.
‘He gave some explanation for what happened, said this pressure had reached a certain point and if he did not act in a certain way, something atrocious would happen to his family.
‘He appreciated his actions would mean he would likely end up in prison, recognising they were wrong.
‘He certainly implied he felt impelled to cause vast amounts of harm.’
Mr Joyce told the court Calocane described hearing male and female voices, which would give him direct instructions and threaten him and tell him to harm hospital staff.
He said: ‘[These voices] said people he loved would be harmed.
‘He had been to his family home in another part of the country which involved a long journey, arrived there and waited outside all day, fearful.
‘His family had come home but he had refused to go into the house with them because he had gone there to warn them.
‘He said those who were controlling his head were controlling his eyes and could see where in the house his mother, father and brother were sitting so they could be targeted.
‘He didn’t go in at all but stayed all night in the car outside to protect them.’
Dr Nigel Blackwood, professor of forensic psychiatry at King’s College London, told the court Calocane has shown a ‘profound lack of awareness’ of his serious mental health condition, which he will have ‘until his dying day’.
Dr Blackwood said of the period leading up to the killings: ‘He continued to believe that this was not, in his words, a natural illness, but that he was subject to interference by malign forces.
‘He concealed symptoms from his (mental health) team, he evaded their care and he did not trust them.’
Asked if Calocane still hears voices, Dr Blackwood said: ‘I understand that they have reduced in intensity and frequency… but they are still there.’
The court was also told Calocane believed he was controlled by radio and sonic control, subjects he studied during his degree course at Nottingham University.
Asked by Mr Joyce if Calocane is ‘so ill… he will never be well enough to be released’, Dr Blackwood said: ‘I think it overwhelmingly likely that he will spend very many years of his life in secure psychiatric care.’
Dr Ross Mirvis, a consultant psychiatrist at Ashworth high security hospital on Merseyside, where defendant is a patient, agreed with Dr Blackwood and Dr McSweeney that Calocane would not have killed on June 13 if he was not suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Dr Blackwood said Calocane was in the ‘grip of a severe psychotic episode’, saying: ‘As a result, he has lost sight of others’ humanity and their right to life – he is entirely driven by the psychotic process at the time.
‘The assaults would not have occurred in the absence of his psychosis.’
Despite his paranoid schizophrenia, which caused an ‘abnormality of mental function’, Dr Blackwood said Calocane knew at the time that what he was doing was ‘morally and legally wrong’, which led him to rule out a potential defence of insanity.
Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC said Calocane ‘knew what he was about to do’ as he prepared to attack Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar from behind as they walked to their student accommodation after a night out.
Mr Khalil said: ‘He hid, as we know, in the shadows.
‘What he did was wait in the shadows until the two students walked past and he followed them from behind. He attacked them from behind when they were at their most vulnerable.
‘He plainly knew what he was about to do.’
Before stabbing Mr Coates, Mr Khalil said, Calocane lured him ‘from his vehicle’.
‘It is plain he conducted himself in a purposeful way,’ the Crown’s barrister added.
‘It is clear that his dangerousness is heightened by virtue of his ability to diminish or conceal that which he is actually doing.’
Commenting after the case, Janine McKinney, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: ‘Valdo Calocane’s actions that morning sent shockwaves through our entire community.
‘He left three bereaved families devastated by grief and others with life-changing physical and emotional injuries.
‘These were savage, ferocious attacks against entirely innocent people who had no way of defending themselves.
‘His pleas to manslaughter were only accepted after very careful analysis of the evidence.
‘We reached this conclusion because the expert medical evidence was overwhelming; namely that his actions were substantially impaired by psychosis resulting from paranoid schizophrenia.’
Nottingham’s day of tragedy: How psychotic killer Valdo Calocane caught train to city, before aimlessly walking streets then stabbing three to death – and going on rampage in stolen van
The horror began with ‘awful blood-curdling screams’ just after 4am on June 13 as students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber were ambushed by an attacker dressed in black.
The savage attack was the beginning of an hour and a half of terror in Nottingham as psychotic killer Valdo Calocane claimed another victim, school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, before trying to kill three more with his stolen van.
Calocane – who heard voices and believed he was being controlled by ‘malign forces’ – also admitted three counts of attempted murder for hitting pedestrians Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller with Mr Coates’ van.
As questions continue to be asked about why Calocane was ever allowed out on the streets, here is how the tragic day unfolded.
Nottingham Railway Station
He then gets a tram to Wilkinson Street before walking around for hours. By this time it has become dark.
4AM – Ilkeston Road
The psychotic killer waits in a darkened alley before leaping out and attacking 19-year-old students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar as they were returning home from a night out at Pryzm in the city centre.
A local resident said: ‘The boy and the girl were walking on their own, there was nobody else in the picture except the attacker, who came up from behind.
‘He attacked the boy first – the girl had an opportunity to run away. But she didn’t, she tried to get the man off her friend. She tried to save the boy.’
In audio of an emergency call to police shortly after, a man is heard saying down the phone ‘oh no’ before describing the horrific scene.
‘There’s been a stabbing on Ilkeston Road, there’s someone lying on the street – I think they’re dead. Oh, that was awful,’ he says.
‘Whereabouts on Ilkeston Road please?’ the 999 controller asks, to which the man – who has not been identified – replies, ‘Near the crossroads.’
Killer walks away
Having killed the students, Calocane walks calmly through the Radford area and into Mapperley Park.
After 4am – Mapperley Road
The killer tries to gain entry into a hostel for homeless people but is pushed away by a resident.
Chilling CCTV footage shows him trying to climb into an open ground-floor window, before Trevor Proverbs, 59, punches him in the face.
The 59-year-old said he was watching the TV because he couldn’t sleep when he spotted the man. He told MailOnline: ‘There was a guy all in black looking through the window.
‘I thought he was a burglar at first so I shouted at him to ”f*** off”. But he actually jumped up on the ledge and opened the top window as though he was going to try and come in.
‘I got off my chair and just punched him in the face with a right-hook, which forced him down off the ledge. He looked up and walked around a bit but left. The security knocked on my door to check to see if I knew the man. I’ve never seen him before in my life.’
Calocane then walks towards Magdala Road where he kills his third victim, 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates, before stealing his van.
Mr Coates was preparing to travel to work at the time.
Delivery driver Miklos Toldi, 37, and his wife Petra had been heading to work in their car. They live just 100 yards away and stopped their car at the same time as another motorist.
Mr Toldi, a Hungarian national, said he saw the body lying in the street with stab wounds, adding: ‘There was blood trailing down the road.
‘The blood looked as if it was fresh. He was lying on his side, his mouth was open and there was no movement.’
5.30am – Milton Street and Upper Parliament Street
The killer then heads for the city centre in his victim’s van.
Footage issued by Nottinghamshire Police also showed Calocane deliberately steering towards pedestrian Wayne Birkett, who was hit from behind and suffered two skull fractures and a broken pelvis.
He later drove the van towards Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller. They also survived.
5.40am – Bentick Road
Minutes later, police tracked him to a road in Radford, with video showing officers racing to surround the white van before wrenching the door open and aiming a Taser at Calocane’s abdomen.
Two officers were then seen dragging and grabbing his clothes to get him out of the seat, before placing him in handcuffs.