Court of Appeal refuses to change Nottingham attacks killer's sentence

Nottinghamshire Police/PA Images
Credit: Nottinghamshire Police / PA

The Court of Appeal has refused to change the sentence of the Nottingham attacks killer, Valdo Calocane, who was given an indefinite hospital order for the manslaughter of three people.

Calocane, 32, has paranoid schizophrenia and was sentenced in January for the manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others in Nottingham in June last year.

The Attorney General referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal, claiming his indefinite hospital order was ‘unduly lenient’.

A hearing at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 14 May was told: "Neither the judge nor this court can ignore the medical evidence as to the offender’s condition which led to these dreadful events or the threat to public safety which the offender continues to pose."

Pictured are Nottingham attacks victims Ian Coates (left), Barnaby Webber (middle) and Grace O'Malley Kumar (right). Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

Calocane fatally stabbed students Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and 65-year-old school caretaker Mr Coates in the early hours of June 13 last year.

After killing Mr Coates, Calocane stole his van and hit three pedestrians before being arrested.

In a summary of the Court of Appeal’s decision not to change the sentence of triple killer Valdo Calocane, the Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr said: “It is impossible to read of the circumstances of this offending without the greatest possible sympathy for the victims of these terrible attacks, and their family and friends.

“The victim impact statements paint a graphic picture of the appalling effects of the offender’s conduct.

“Had the offender not suffered the mental condition that he did, the sentencing judge would doubtless have been considering a whole life term.

“But neither the judge nor this court can ignore the medical evidence as to the offender’s condition which led to these dreadful events or the threat to public safety which the offender continues to pose.”

Credit: Family handout

The mother of Barnaby Webber, who was 19, says the outcome of the Court of Appeal hearing "proves how utterly flawed and under-resourced the criminal justice system in the UK is".

In a statement following the Court of Appeal’s decision, Emma Webber said: “Today’s ruling comes as no surprise to the families of the Nottingham attack victims. It was inevitable and was not a review of anything other than the letter of the law as it stands.

“Despite the fact that the Attorney General herself feels that Valdo Calocane did not receive the appropriate sentence, today’s outcome proves how utterly flawed and under-resourced the criminal justice system in the UK is. It also illustrates the need for urgent reforms in the UK homicide law.

“The fact remains, despite the words of the judge, that almost 90% of people serving hospital orders are out within 10 years and 98% within 20 years. In effect, the families now face their own life sentence of ensuring the monster that is Valdo Calocane becomes the next Ian Brady or Fred West and is never released.

“Given the failed investigation carried out by Nottingham Police, the weak prosecution put forward by East Midlands CPS and the over-reliance on doctors’ reports, there was probably no other conclusion that could be made.

“The families have raised their concerns already with the Government with regard to obvious errors and omissions that have resulted in this tragedy.”

Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice following the Court of Appeal’s refusal to change the sentence of Valdo Calocane, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, father of victim Grace O’Malley-Kumar, said: “The Attorney General’s case has not been successful. This is disappointing, but not unexpected.

“The Nottingham attacks were entirely preventable. Nottinghamshire Police failed to produce a warrant for many months, a flawed investigation, no toxicology, over-reliance on psychiatric reports.

“Leicestershire Police failed to arrest Valdo Calocane. This is a failure of two police forces, a failure of the mental health trust, along with Nottinghamshire (County) Council as well.

“Missed multiple opportunities to prevent the Nottingham attacks and the murder of our children and Ian Coates is what has led us here today. We have continued to pursue agencies that failed us and hold them responsible for the Nottingham attacks, so that no other family is made to suffer like ours.

“We thank everyone for the outpouring of support for our brave and beautiful daughter, Grace.”


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