Family of Nottingham stabbing victim Grace O'Malley-Kumar remember their 'hero'

Grace's father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, and brother, James O'Malley-Kumar, say Calocane is a 'dangerous' man and must be punished

Words by ITV News Producer Cat Dinneny

The family of a student killed in a violent rampage have said they "believe" in the justice system, despite her killer not facing a murder trial.

Grace O'Malley-Kumar was stabbed alongside fellow University of Nottingham student, Barnaby Webber, and school caretaker, Ian Coates, in June last year. Three more people were injured in the attack.

Speaking to ITV News, Grace's father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar paid tribute to his "wonderful daughter", along with her younger brother, James O'Malley-Kumar, 17, who said his sister always "brought the music".

They sat in court today as they saw her killer Valdo Calocane's manslaughter plea accepted by a judge.

"Disappointed as we are, we do believe in the judiciary, we believe in the courts, we believe in the legal system," Dr Kumar said.

"We are hoping that it will come to the right decision. There has to be an element of punishment here and we are just hoping there is justice for all the victims of this tragedy."

From left to right: Barnaby Webber, Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates who were all killed by Calocane Credit: Family Handouts

Grace, 19, was out celebrating her end of year exams with Barnaby, also 19, when they were attacked on Ilkeston Road in the city centre by Calocane.

The court heard today how how Grace showed "incredible bravery" in trying to fight off her attacker and defend her friend.

Grace tried to protect Barnaby and fought the killer for 30 seconds, pushing him away and into the road. But he stabbed her multiple times before continuing his attack on Barnaby.

To Grace's younger brother, James, she is a "hero".

"The way in which Grace lost her life speaks to new volumes about who she was. She was a hero," he said.

"She passed trying to save her friend. She would never leave anyone, she'd never exclude friends. She'd never leave them on their own, and that's exactly what happened on the 13th. She didn't leave her friend, and she fought."

She was a first year medical student who wanted to join the Royal Army Medical Corps and go on to train as a surgeon.

Dr Kumar said: "She proved her colours already by being one of the youngest vaccinators against Covid. She'd served the public and she was a person of service.

"I've lost a daughter, but I think the country has lost someone who would have provided really good service to the community, and I think it's a loss for all of us."

Grace's father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, and brother, James O'Malley-Kumar, say Calocane is a 'dangerous' man and must be punished. Credit: ITV News

For the last seven months, Grace's family have had to come to terms with the way in which she died and grapple with the knowledge that the man responsible for killing their daughter suffers from extreme mental illness.

"He's a dangerous man and it's not safe for the public," said James.

"At the end of the day, nothing's going to satisfy us from our loss. Even now, trying to speak about the impact it's had on me is immensely difficult because there simply aren't words I can use to describe the pain we feel and the hole that's been left within our family.

"We're now a family of three, which was never meant to be the case."

James and his friend, Alex Simpson, have set up a foundation in Grace's name with the motto 'let's all be more like Grace'.

Alex told ITV News: "Grace never stood for bullying. She always stood up to aggressors, made sure no one was ever left out and we want to try and emulate Grace's love.

"She had such a care for people and such natural empathy that you really cannot teach or learn, so our aim is just to help people."

The foundation draws on Grace's interests to raise awareness of its cause. There's a hockey tournament in May, a nod to Grace's time playing for the U16 and U18 England Hockey Team, as well as other clubs.

They started the foundation in the week following her death and want to use its platform to lobby the government about knife crime.

James said: "It's easier to get access to a knife than it is to get access to alcohol, and I think that speaks volumes about the epidemic of knife crime and why so many people are being killed.

"I said to Mum and Dad from the very start that although we've been put through this and it feels like we've been through hell, something good must come from this cause."

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