'No justice' for Barney as triple killer’s manslaughter plea accepted, friends say

  • Tom and Emily Yap told ITV News' Ben McGrail they don't think justice is being served for Barnaby's death.

Friends and family of Taunton teenager Barnaby Webber say they do not feel justice has been dealt, after prosecutors accepted Valdo Calocane’s pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to "serious" mental illness.

Barnaby, along with fellow student Grace O’Malley-Kumar, was attacked while walking in Nottingham in the early hours of Thursday 13 June.

Both suffered fatal knife wounds to the chest and abdomen.

An hour later, school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, was stabbed, suffering wounds to his abdomen and chest.

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

One of Barnaby’s close friends, Tom Yap, was with Barnaby from nursery to sixth form at Taunton School.

Mr Yap said: "I think it’s been very easy to feel anger about a lot of it.

"The pleading guilty to the three counts of manslaughter I think certainly has angered, to say the least, a lot of the people who knew Barney and, presumably, those who knew Ian and Grace as well.

“There’s a lot of us are still coming to terms with what happened, that have only just started to accept the finality of his death and just as we’re reaching that point where we’re, sort of, able to accept it, embrace it and start to move on.

"Normally we’d have the hope that, at the very least, the person who did it, who’s responsible would have the ability to own up to what he did to its full entirety and yet here we are now and we don’t even have the satisfaction of that.

"With the perspective of Barney, Ian, Grace, their families, their friends, their loved ones, I don’t think the level of justice is what it should be at."

Friends Emily and Tom Yap with Barnaby Webber Credit: Handout

Barnaby’s mother broke down in tears as Nottingham Crown 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.

Another close friend of Barnaby’s, Emily Yap, said: "This person went out, he chose to purchase or use, or take that knife.

"He took it out into a place, he travelled to get there and he took the action to kill not just one, but three people.

"How can you compare that to accidentally doing something or unintentionally doing something? Because that is an intentional action.

"I don’t know if I could say that my anger is directed at one person because I think my anger is directed towards the system that led to where we are right now.

"You see the headlines all the time about mental health services being short and this is where the problems are coming from and I know that everyone’s trying as hard as they can.

"But if we don’t change things at this stage this is when it escalates and it builds up to what happened in the summer."

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.

Reading her victim impact statement from the witness box at Nottingham Crown Court, Barnaby Webber’s mother told Valdo Calocane he was a “monstrous individual”.

Emma Webber told the court: “Barney didn’t lose his life on 13 June. It was stolen from him in the most vicious, unprovoked, senseless and evil way imaginable.

"There must be appropriate justice served and punishment for the actions of this one monstrous individual.”

Speaking of Barnaby, she said: “I thought we would have decades more. I would give anything to hear that voice again.”

Mrs Webber said she had been “terrified” before viewing his body in a hospital chapel of rest, but added: “But I am glad I did and he had the final kiss of his forehead from me.

"However, it’s something that no parent should ever have to do.”

In a victim impact statement, Barnaby's father David said the “waves” of pain he has experienced since his eldest son’s death have been “crippling”, as he branded killer Valdo Calocane a “monster”.

Valdo Calocane was handed a hospital order Credit: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

He said: “Barnaby was a vibrant, loving boy who was growing into a man and starting to live his best life.

"As a father I dreaded him leaving home (to go to university), but I loved my visits to see him; he always had a smile to welcome me.

"Due to your unbelievably savage actions I will never get that again.”

Mr Webber added: “Your despicable, murderous actions are not reparable in this or any other lifetime.

"Your evil, vicious, selfish, unforgivable actions have caused damage that will never be repaired.

"I believe in karma, I hope you get all you deserve for the rest of your life.”

Valdo Calocane in the dock at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last year Credit: PA

Philip Edwards is the house master of Marshall House, Barney's house at Taunton School.

Mr Edwards said: "It has rocked everyone. When something like this happens we see it on the news and we think it's sad.

"When it affects you personally it takes on a whole different beast."

Head of history at Taunton School, Mark Chatterton, said: "How can you reconcile and awful tragedy like this with humanity? It's impossible to do so.

"I do regularly still think about Barney, I did this afternoon. I was sitting in the room where I used to teach him and his group for A-Level and just pictured him so vividly."

Following Barnaby’s death his family launched the Barnaby Webber Foundation which it is hoped will support young people with a focus on sport.

The sentencing of Valdo Calocane has been adjourned until Wednesday at 10.30am, with evidence expected to be given to the court by psychiatrists.

Defence KC Peter Joyce is also expected to make submissions on behalf of the defendant.

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