Nottingham attacks: Court accepts triple killer’s guilty pleaon January 23, 2024 at 1:41 pm

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Valdo Calocane’s manslaughter pleas are accepted on the basis of “serious” mental illness.

Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar

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.

Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s father said he felt justice had not been done for his “super” daughter.

Calocane’s 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.

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Calocane, who answered to the name Adam Mendes in court, also admitted attempting to murder three pedestrians he hit with a van.

He had stolen the vehicle from Mr Coates, who he stabbed after attacking the two students.

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

Dr Sanjoy Kumar, said his daughter would be disappointed with the way the case had concluded.

He said: “At the end of the day, when you strip everything away, these children were walking home from a great night out, they were attacked and murdered brutally.”

Her brother James said: “She was the best to me. Since everything happened, I’ve been lost without her.

“I’ve not just lost my older sister, but my best friend – someone I’d go to about everything. I was so proud, I would always speak about her.

“It’s a joy to be able to say she’s my older sister, it’s a privilege. Now my job is to do my best to make her proud.”

Valdo Calocane

Image source, Nottinghamshire Police

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 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.

CCTV image of suspect

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.

Attacker Tasered

After taking Mr Coates’ van, Calocane drove it to Milton Street, where he hit Wayne Birkett, who was crossing the road. He suffered a fractured skull which caused a bleed to his brain and was said to be extremely fortunate to survive.

The defendant then drove in a loop and was seen by a marked police car at about 05:29 BST.

Officers activated their lights but Calocane accelerated away and then knocked down Sharon Miller and Marcin Gawronski, who were walking to work across a pedestrian central reservation.

Ms Miller and Mr Gawronski were also both extremely fortunate to survive, the court heard.

Calocane was arrested after being Tasered about five minutes after the final victims were injured. He produced a knife when the van was stopped and boxed in by police vehicles.

The crowd at the start of the vigil

Image source, Nottingham City Council

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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