'Look out for each other': Fathers of Nottingham attack victims share emotional address at vigil

The fathers of two University of Nottingham students sharing emotional speeches at a vigil today, Correspondent Ben Chapman reports live as people pay their respects

The fathers of the two University of Nottingham students killed in a "horrific" incident which left three dead, delivered emotional addresses to thousands of people who turned out to a vigil.

Many people gathered today to pay tribute to Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber who were tragically killed on Tuesday 13 June after a night out in the city centre.

Crowds gathered at the top of the Djangoly steps near the university’s Portland building on Wednesday afternoon.

Many of those in attendance could be seen wiping away tears and consoling each other in respectful silence as they mourned the deaths of medical student Grace O’Malley Kumar and history student Barnaby Webber.

Students Barnaby and Grace, both aged 19, were killed on Ilkeston Road as part of attacks across the city centre in the early hours of Tuesday.

School caretaker, Ian Coates, 65, was named as the third victim who was found dead on Magdala Road.

Victims Barnaby Webber (left), Grace Kumar (middle), and Ian Coates. Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

Barnaby Webber's father told the crowds his son's heart would be forever with the university and its student.

David Webber said: "I’m lost for words, I’ve lost my baby boy and I can't even comprehend how I'm going to deal with."

He added: "I know Barney would be super touched by everyone that's here. He loved it here and couldn't wait to come back."

"It drove me mad. His heart will be will you forever. Thank you so much."

Mr Webber then handed the microphone to Grace's father.

Family members of Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar embracing at the vigil on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Speaking with David Webber’s hand on his shoulder, Sanjoy Kumar said: “Everyone here I really, really want to thank you for your support, for taking the time to be here.

“All of you guys, everywhere that I see, a sea of people, such a lovely sign of the university and the bond you have.

“Grace was also like Barney, she loved coming up to Nottingham. In fact, we couldn’t get her down.

“I said to her last week, ‘come down’, she said ‘well, after she’s had a few more sessions’. I used to call them her crisis meetings.

“The love that we have out here, I just wish we had it everywhere. So, look after each other is the big thing.

“Look after your friends and look after people around you. It is so important.”

Sanjoy Kumar (left) and David Webber (right) - the fathers of Grace O'Malley Kumar and Barnaby Webber speaking during a vigil. Credit: PA

He added: “Grace and her friend they fell together and you just need to be friends with everyone. You need to love everyone and I wish we had more of it.

“But most of all, all of you guys, everyone who’s here who Grace may not have even touched, I really thank you for being here and taking the time.

“I really do. It means so much to Sinead, my wife, and me. She loved being here and she loved all of you. She really did and you should all feel very blessed.

“She was so full of her stories and things that she said about all of you, and you’ve all touched her life. And hence ours.

“You’ll never be forgotten, by us, certainly. We have children who were taken away prematurely from us, that should never happen to any parent.

“All I can say to all of you guys is that thank you for things you did for our daughter and Barney, and look out for each other. Thank you.”

Friends embrace and comfort each other at Wednesday's vigil. Credit: PA

Speaking at the vigil, the vice-chancellor of University of Nottingham, Prof Shearer West said: "What should have been a time of celebration and relaxation following the exam period has become a time to mourn tragic loss in the most unimaginable of circumstances.

Prof West went on to say the tributes paid by the students former schools, sports teams, and friends has shown just how much they were loved.

Addressing the victims families, Ms West expressed the university's deepest condolences.

"communities across Nottingham are united by grief and our remembrance of two much-loved students.

"The University of Nottingham is a much sadder less bright place today without Grace and Barnaby," she ended.

'A monumental loss'

On behalf of the University of Nottingham Students Union, Daisy Forster, a community officer, said it is "hard to comprehend what has happen to the students and this city in the last 36 hours."

She said: what should have been one of the biggest celebrations has turned into one of the darkest days.

"But he message and support I have seen from so many of you, the way you have stuck together and held each other up and shared has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to witness.

"Barnaby and Grace are a monumental loss.

"They were both first years with ambitions, potential, and dreams.

"What was taken from us yesterday will never be given backand the shock waves echo through our student community."

In a statement released yesterday the University of Nottingham Students Union said they "stand in solidarity with all our students and the wider community, and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives and the injured, alongside those directly and indirectly affected by the unfolding of these terrible events."

Speakers at the vigil noted the University's sense of togetherness and community during a difficult circumstances.

Some students have said the "horrific and tragic" events have not gone unnoticed."

Speaking to ITV News Central one student said said: "There were a lot of events that were supposed to happen.

"No one really wants to go to them a because it just doesn't feel appropriate to be celebrating the end of the year when two people have died, well three people have died but two students have died and you don't quite feel as safe to go out."

Another said: "I think everybody's just feeling really upset by it really, you know, just hit hard, even if they don't know who they were."

"Nottingham is a really friendly city and I know myself and my friends we've never felt sort of endanger going on a night out. So to hear it, it's quite shocking," said another.

"They were obviously just in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is just really sad," she exclaimed.

Anyone affected by the deaths is being urged to utilise support services offered by the university and city council.

Floral tributes have been left on the street where two students were killed in Nottingham. Credit: BPM Media

The University's Grad Ball was cancelled on Tuesday following the news of the students' deaths.

Where else can I pay my respects ?

Another vigil will be held in Old Market Square tomorrow (June 15) at 5:30pm.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Carole McCulloch and leader of the City Council, Councillor David Mellen will host the event.

Shearer West, the vice chancellor of the University of Nottingham and representatives from faith communities will lead a minute’s silence at 6pm from the steps of the Council House.

The flag on Nottingham City Council House has been lowered to half-mast and a book of condolence opened for people to sign.

People are also being invited to lay flowers on the steps of the Council House while the lights on the building will be lowered at night as a mark of respect.

NET Nottingham Trams said any students travelling to vigils can travel for free if a student ID card is shown.

An impromptu vigil was held yesterday at Nottingham’s St Peter’s Church as a place for people to reflect on the incident.

Attended by mainly young people of university age, those present were invited to place flowers below the altar or light a candle.

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