Valdo Calocane: Timeline of Nottingham triple killer's contact with mental health services

Valdo Calocane had an extensive track record before he was charged with the killings of three people in Nottingham, as Social Affairs Correspondent Stacey Foster reports

There was relief on the morning of June 13, 2023, when police announced they had arrested a suspect in connection with the brutal killings of three innocent people in Nottingham city centre.

But what we did not know at the time was that Valdo Calocane was already a wanted man.

In fact, had already been on the run for nine months after assaulting a female police officer in 2021.

What is perhaps even more alarming is that mental health services in the city had also lost track of Calocane. 

The 33-year-old was a paranoid schizophrenic, known to mental health services since 2020.

He had admitted to professionals that he was no longer taking his medication in 2021, was arrested on multiple occasions after acts of violence, and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act four times.

He even visited MI5 in London to "hand himself in". Mental health professionals had not seen Calocane since March 2022, when he was reviewed at a discharge clinic.

His extensive track record raises many questions for the authorities that exist to keep us all safe. 

How was such a dangerous person allowed to wander the streets of Nottingham undetected?

Was information about this man being shared effectively?

Before Calocane was due to be sentenced on January 25 for killing three people and injuring three others, Assistant Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police Rob Griffin gave an interview where he said: "My honest assessment is no, I don't think we could have done anything that would have made any difference and would have prevented what happened on that day."

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Less than a week later, Mr Griffin admitted to ITV News that more should have been done, but that it was still his assessment that it would not have changed the outcome.

He said: "I have personally reviewed this matter and we should have done more to arrest him.

"However, because of the circumstance prevailing, at the time of the alleged assault, in my opinion it is highly unlikely that he would have received a custodial sentence.

"Of course, an arrest might have triggered a route back into mental health services, but as we have seen from his previous encounters with those services, it seems unlikely that he would have engaged in this process."

Nottinghamshire Police has not referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) on this failure at the time of writing.

"In relation to the brief pursuit before we detained Calocane we did make a referral to the IOPC," Assistant Chief Constable Griffin's statement added.

"I can confirm that in relation to the matter concerning the warrant, we followed the IOPC's guidance and, having shared details with them, we undertook professional discussions to establish whether the referral criteria was met. 

"Following advice that the criteria was not met, we decided not to make a referral, but undertook an internal review of this matter."

Calocane was born in Guinnea-Bissau. His family moved to Madeira when he was three-years-old and then to Lisbon, Portugal, when he was eight. He came to the UK in 2007 when he was 16-years-old.

Valdo Calocane has been sentenced to a high-security hospital order. Credit: PA

He had significant contact with mental health services in Nottingham before the killings on June 13, 2023.

Here is a timeline:

May 23, 2020

Calocane presented at A&E believing he was having a heart attack.

He returned to his apartment 13 hours later and knocked a door down to gain entrance to another apartment in the block.

He was arrested for causing criminal damage. An assessment under the Mental Health Act (MHA) concluded that he was psychotic, but that the risk to others was low, and that he should be referred, in the first instance, to the Crisis Team for review at home.

He was released without charge. Upon returning to his apartment an hour later, he knocked down another door to a different apartment in the block. 

May 25, 2020

Calocane was detained under the MHA and admitted to Highbury Hospital after being arrested for criminal damage.

He was treated with an anti-psychotic medication and discharged on June 17, 2020 to the care of the Nottingham City Crisis Team.

He was advised to take the medication for a minimum of six to nine months, and to seek medical advice if he wished to stop taking it.  

July 14 and July 31, 2020

Calocane was re-admitted to Highbury Hospital after forcing his way into a flat having stopped taking his medication.

This was the third apartment in the same block to which he attempted to gain forced entry.

The anti-psychotic medication was restarted and increased. Thereafter, he was managed in the community by the Early Intervention in Psychosis team.

His medication was increased twice.  

May, 2021

In May 2021, Calocane visited MI5 Headquarters in London to surrender to them because he believed they were controlling him.

August 31 2021

Calocane admitted that he had stopped taking his psychotropic medication and had no intention of continuing with his treatment.

He set out his view that he had never been mentally unwell, but that the voices he experienced were the creation of mental health services.

September 3 2021

A section 135 MHA warrant was secured to gain entry to Calocane's property in order that an assessment could be conducted.

The warrant was executed, on which occasion he assaulted a police officer.

A bag of unused medication dating from February 2021 was discovered in the flat.

He was admitted to inpatient services under Section 2 of the MHA and managed between September and October 2021.

Thereafter, he had limited contact with his community team, appearing confrontational and missing appointments.

January, 2022

Calocane was involved in an altercation with a flat-mate. An assessment under the MHA concluded that he could continue to be treated in the community, however he did not engage adequately with the Home Treatment Team.

January 27, 2022

A further MHA assessment was conducted at his flat and he was admitted to hospital where he was treated for three weeks.

He was discharged on February 24 2022 to the care of the City South team.

March 14, 2022

Calocane was reviewed in an outpatient clinic, on which occasion he presented well.

Thereafter, he attended the community service intermittently to collect his medication until early July 2022, but was noted to appear unkempt and to look suspicious. 

July, 2022 

Calocane was prompted to collect his medication, but claimed (falsely, it appears) that he was not in the country. 

August, 2022 

Calocane was not at home on a visit to his discharge address, and the resident stated that no-one of that name lived there.  

May 5, 2023

Calocane attacked two employees at a warehouse in Kegworth, where he had recently started working. Following that incident, efforts were made to contact him to tell him that he was not allowed back on the premises, but Calocane never answered. 

(From left to right) Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar were all killed by Valdo Calocane. Credit: Supplied

Now criminal proceedings have ended, NHS England can begin an Independent Mental Health Homicide Review.

This is likely to take many months or even years to complete.

A statement from Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Ifti Majid said: "Our thoughts are with the families and friends of Barnaby Webber, Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates, and everyone affected by the tragic events in Nottingham in June 2023.

"As well as supporting Nottinghamshire Police with their investigations, in the event of a serious incident relating to a former patient, we robustly review our own interactions with that person to identify any learning.

"In this case, the patient was under our care between May 2020 and September 2022 with episodes of care both as an inpatient and in the community as an outpatient.

"It is important to remember that this person has been convicted of a crime of the most serious kind and there are many people who live with severe mental health issues who do not offend and are supported to live well in their community.

"We always aim to care for people in the least restrictive way and to support people to live well in their own homes and society. 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."

A court sketch of Valdo Calocane appearing at Nottingham Crown Court. Credit: PA

This all bears a striking resemblance to a similar incident I reported on for ITV News in September 2020, just as we were coming out of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and shops and bars were starting to reopen.

Eight people were stabbed in Birmingham City Centre. I remember that Sunday morning walking around the city, counting the various different crime scenes scattered all over. 

A paranoid schizophrenic, Zephaniah McLeod, who had recently been released from prison, and was known to mental heath services, attacked people at random. Among them was a group of friends on a night out - for some of them it was their first visit to the city.

Jacob Billington was killed and his best friend Michael Callaghan was left with life changing injuries. 

It's been two years since I last saw Michael, and while he has made significant steps in his recovery, he spoke to me about the challenges of hearing what happened in Nottingham.

'He was already in prison. All they had to do to keep the public safe was nothing. It would have saved Jacob's life,' Michael Callaghan told ITV News

Michael's Mum, Anne Callaghan, says risk assessments are still not working to keep the public safe.

'If you could read some of the things I've read about the person who attacked Michael you'd just be absolutely astonished that he was allowed to be out and about,' Anne Callaghan told ITV News

In the case of Zephaniah McLeod, a review took more than two years to be delivered to the families and even now they are still in search of answers as to what went wrong and what will change.

A coroner's inquest into Mr Billington's death will start in February 2024, almost four years after he was killed. 

The charity Rethink says the facts of this case show we also need to reform the MHA, which the government has promised, but, so far not delivered.

The chief executive of the charity Rethink described the system that caters for mental health concerns in the UK as 'incredibly badly stretched'

Rethink chief executive Brian Dow told ITV News: "Society also requires a safety net and that's why we need to have provision to detain people if they are very very unwell and a risk to themselves or to others.

"And the Mental Health Act is a number of decades old. It's very out of date, it should have been making its way through parliament now.

"Unfortunately, the government decided not to go ahead with it and, of course, we can't say that would have changed this terrible tragic case, but what we do know is that it will improve the quality of care people actually receive and hopefully get that balance between the safety of the wider public and the rights of the individual to freedom."

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