Victims’ families ‘resolute’ as Nottingham killer’s sentence review date set

The families of three people stabbed to death in Nottingham say they are glad a date has been set to review the sentence handed to their loved ones’ killer, Valdo Calocane.

Calocane, 32, stabbed students Barnaby Webber, 19, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, with a dagger in Nottingham in the early hours of June 13 last year, and attempted to kill three others.

In January, he was given an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter by diminished responsibility, after Nottingham Crown Court heard he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Webber’s family called the hospital order a “huge insult”.

Valdo Calocane court case
Valdo Calocane (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

Attorney General Victoria Prentis said in February she would refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration, after concluding it was “unduly lenient”.

Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber, said the families were advised on Friday that a date for the hearing has been set for May 8 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Three Court of Appeal judges will hear arguments from the senior treasury counsel representing the Attorney General and Calocane’s barrister.

Mrs Webber said the Coates, Webber and O’Malley-Kumar families were now putting their trust in the office of the Attorney General to present an “open, challenging and much more thorough representation than witnessed before”.

Valdo Calocane court case
Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar were killed by Valdo Calocane in June 2023 (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

She said: “We trust that it will be proven, as we strongly believe, that whilst Calocane is clearly mentally unwell he was present and culpable enough at the time leading up to, during and after the attack to prove there was intent on his part.

“This is an important step for our united families, however we still have a great deal ahead of us with the numerous investigations into the failures of both Nottinghamshire Police Force and Nottinghamshire Health Trust.

“We remain resolute that we will not be silenced or stopped in our pursuit of appropriate justice and proper accountability.”

Mrs Webber also criticised the “grandiose theatrics” of Calocane’s barrister, Peter Joyce KC, in mitigation during the defendant’s sentencing hearing.

Valdo Calocane court case
Emma Webber said the families were putting their trust in the office of the Attorney General (Jacob King/PA)

Mr Joyce said schizophrenia had “stalked down” a man of previously impeccable character and behaviour.

He described Calocane as “a man who prior to being smitten” by mental illness “was wholly law-abiding, was hard-working, put himself through university and was doing his very, very best to become a meaningful member of society”.

Mrs Webber said on Friday: “We are confident that the grandiose theatrics of the offender’s barrister, Peter Joyce, which we so painfully witnessed at the hearing in Nottingham in January, will carry no sway with such an esteemed panel.”