Nottingham attacks: Triple killer's manslaughter pleas accepted by prosecutor

ITV News Midlands Correspondent Ben Chapman speaks to the family of one of the students killed in the Nottingham attacks

Prosecutors have accepted Nottingham triple-killer Valdo Calocane’s pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to "serious" mental illness, a judge has been told.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC told Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday that the families of university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, had been consulted before deciding to accept the pleas entered by Calocane, 32.

Calocane, who answered to the name Adam Mendes in court, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to the manslaughter of Mr Coates and that of university students Barnaby and Grace.

University of Nottingham students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber, both 19, suffered fatal knife wounds to the chest and abdomen, while school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, was stabbed in the chest alone.

The two students were attacked while walking in Ilkeston Road in the early hours of Thursday 13 June, and Mr Coates was attacked around an hour later on Magdala Road.

One of the students killed in a series of attacks in Nottingham last summer showed "incredible bravery" in trying to fight off her attacker and defend her friend, a court has heard.

Grace was walking home to her student accommodation last June with her friend Barnaby, when he was attacked by Calocane.

Barnaby’s mother broke down in tears as the court heard Calocane used a dagger to stab him multiple times with "devastating violence".

Grace tried to protect her friend 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.

The family of Mr Webber, a history student from Taunton in Somerset, have previously described their "complete devastation," saying he was a "beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to."

Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s family described her as a "truly wonderful and beautiful young lady" and that she would be "so dearly missed." The medical student had represented Essex in cricket as a teenager and had also played for England Hockey.

Two of Mr Coates’ sons said his death had "rocked everyone’s world," adding: "Nobody deserves this but he definitely didn’t."

Following the killings, thousands attended vigils at the University of Nottingham and in Old Market Square to remember the victims.

Mr Webber and Miss O’Malley-Kumar were fatally stabbed in Ilkeston Road, Radford, at around 4:00am.

At around 5.30am police were called to an incident in which a van had allegedly been driven into people waiting at a bus stop close to the Theatre Royal.

Mr Coates was found stabbed to death in Magdala Road, Mapperley.

The defendant, of no fixed address, was then arrested on suspicion of murder outside a convenience store in Bentinck Road, Forest Fields.

He also admitted attempting to murder three pedestrians who were hit by a van he had stolen from Mr Coates on June 13 last year.

Calocane’s barrister Peter Joyce KC told a previous hearing the defendant “does not dispute the physical facts of the prosecution’s case” but was suffering from “extreme” mental illness at the time of the incident.

Calocane fatally knifed Miss O’Malley-Kumar and Mr Webber, who were studying medicine and history at the University of Nottingham respectively, on Ilkeston Road at around 4am on June 13.

Mr Coates was then found dead in Magdala Road around an hour later, having also been stabbed “repeatedly”.

The defendant then used Mr Coates’ van to drive at three pedestrians, Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller, in Milton Street and South Sherwood Street.

They all survived the attack.

The prosecution’s decision to accept the pleas entered by Calocane in November means he will not face trial for murder.

Calocane, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit and light blue shirt, now faces a sentencing hearing expected to last for around two days.

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