Valdo Calocane – sentenced on Thursday to an indefinite hospital order – killed Grace O’Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates – Barnaby’s mum issued stark words to police on Thursday
Grieving families have blasted authorities for not preventing the Nottingham rampage.
Paranoid schizophrenic Valdo Calocane – sentenced on Thursday to an indefinite hospital order – killed Grace O’Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates. Barnaby’s mum Emma said the police have “ blood on their hands ”.
She added the victims were “stolen from us for ever and let down by the very system that should be protecting us”. The relatives have criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for accepting Calocane’s guilty pleas to manslaughter.
Calocane was today sentenced to an indefinite hospital order for killing 19-year-old students Grace and Barnaby, and school caretaker Ian, 65, in June last year.
Barnaby’s mum said: “True justice has not been served.” She accused the CPS of not consulting them before deciding not to put Calocane on trial for murder, adding: “We were horrified.” Emma said: “We trusted in our system – foolishly as it turns out.”
The CPS made the decision after psychiatrists said Calocane was suffering from “treatment-resistant” paranoid schizophrenia. Not being tried for murder meant he could not be handed a whole-life prison sentence. Families have also blasted officers and health services.
Emma, 51, said of the police: “You have blood on your hands. If you had done your jobs properly, there’s a very good chance my beautiful boy would be alive today.”
Outside Nottingham crown court after the sentencing hearing, she added the three victims were “stolen from us for ever and let down by the very system that should be protecting us”.
There were missed opportunities by various agencies that may have prevented the tragedy. Calocane, 32, had been on the run from police for nine months when he launched the killing spree.
The former Nottingham University student was sectioned four times after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2020 but was released into the community each time. Ian’s son James, 38, said Calocane “got away with murder”, adding: “Failures from the police, CPS and health service resulted in the murder of my father and two innocent students.”
Grace’s dad Dr Sanjoy Kumar said the “missed opportunities to divert his lethal path will for ever play on our minds”. Mr Justice Mark Turner ordered Calocane to be detained indefinitely at Ashworth secure psychiatric hospital on Merseyside. Calocane can only be discharged with the agreement of the Secretary of State for Justice.
The judge told Calocane he would “very probably” remain at the hospital for the rest of his life. Calocane admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He also admitted attempting to murder three pedestrians by running them over. Mr Justice Turner said: “Your sickening crimes shocked the nation.”
He praised Grace’s bravery in trying to tackle Calocane as he stabbed her friend Barnaby. The judge said: “She sacrificed her life.”
Nottinghamshire Police said it had engaged with Calocane “largely while supporting our NHS colleagues”, adding: “On each occasion, he was released by mental health services and his mental health managed by them in the community.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin said on Wednesday more should have been done to arrest Calocane while he was on the run. The CPS defended its acceptance of Calocane’s manslaughter pleas, saying the medical evidence was “overwhelming”. It added: “His pleas to manslaughter were only accepted after very careful analysis of the evidence. His actions were substantially impaired by psychosis resulting from paranoid schizophrenia.”
Nottingham Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said Calocane was under their care from May 2020 to September 2022. Chief executive Ifti Majid said they “robustly reviewed” their interactions” with the killer.
Mr Majid added: “He had episodes of care as an inpatient and in the community as an outpatient… If a patient no longer engages with our services and support and they do not meet criteria to be detained under the Mental Health Act, they are discharged back to the care of their GP and can be referred back into our services at any time. We’ll continue to work with our partners in the police and health services to continue to learn.”
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire said: “When the patient was discharged back to the GP, several attempts were made to contact him, but no response was received.” The university said it is confident it took the right steps to escalate concerns about Calocane to the appropriate authorities.
Calocane turned up at a local hospital believing he was having a heart attack, the court heard.
He was arrested the same day for breaking into two apartments in his block. In one of the incidents the occupant was so terrified she jumped out of a window to escape.
Nottingham University is understood to have made attempts to seek mental health care for the killer.
Calocane was assessed as being “psychotic but low risk to others” and admitted to a psychiatric ward for three weeks.
Calocane was discharged but then readmitted after breaking into a third apartment days later.
His anti-psychotic medication was increased and he was managed “in the community” by local mental health teams.
But he stopped taking his drugs and was “actively concealing symptoms of psychosis”.
He visited MI5 and told them to stop “controlling him”. A photo was taken of him at their London HQ and his details noted down.No other action was taken.
He assaulted a police officer as he was being taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act.
He was spoken to by police after attacking a flatmate, who declined to press charges. He was kicked out of halls by the university. Psychiatrists said he didn’t need in-patient treatment.
He was charged with assaulting a police officer in relation to September 2021 incident.
Failed to turn up to court the next month and magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest.
A month before the rampage, he attacked two colleagues at a warehouse.
Rishi Sunak on Thursday declined to back calls for a public inquiry into the circumstances that led to the attacks, but added it is important for the relevant agencies to look at their actions and learn any necessary lessons.
The PM said: “My thoughts are with all the families affected by what happened. It was an absolutely awful case and as a parent you think when you send your kids out into the world or university they’ll be safe. I can’t imagine the pain they are going through at the moment”. He said it was “right” Calocane, who he described as a “very dangerous individual”, will “spend very probably the rest of his life” in a high-security hospital.
Mr Sunak added: “I also think it is important that all the relevant agencies look back to ensure that all reasonable steps that could have been taken were taken and if there are any lessons to be learned that we do so.”
Cuts to local authority and school budgets in the past decade have shrunk counselling services that are considered to be crucial to addressing mental health problems. There have been some NHS mental health services funding increases in recent years but there are still huge waits and staff shortages.