Nottingham attack victim's mother urges police to 'show respect' after graphic post about killings revealed

24 April 2024, 05:32 | Updated: 24 April 2024, 06:36

Barnaby Webber's mother Emma has urged police to show respect
Barnaby Webber's mother Emma has urged police to show respect. Picture: Alamy/Handout/Police

By Kit Heren

The mother of one of the victims of the Nottingham triple-killing last June has urged police to show respect after officers shared a graphic message about the attacks.

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Emma Webber, the mother of Nottingham University student Barnaby, who was stabbed to death by Valdo Calocane in a frenzied knife rampage alongside Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates, wrote an open letter to Nottinghamshire Police.

It has emerged that an officer who responded to the attack told others in a WhatsApp group that Barnaby and Grace had been "proper butchered", and said that their insides were exposed.

Ms Webber said the "callous, degrading and desensitised manner" of the comments has caused "more trauma than you can imagine".

She said in her letter: "When you say 'a couple of students have been properly butchered' did you stop to think about the absolute terror that they felt in the moment when they were ambushed and repeatedly stabbed by a man who had planned his attack and lay waiting in the shadows for them.

Read more: Police officer who viewed bodycam footage of Barnaby Webber dying in street after Nottingham attack sacked

Read more: Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber blasts police ‘mistruths’ after force is put in special measures

Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar died in the attacks
Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar died in the attacks. Picture: Alamy

"When you say 'innards out and everything' did you think about the agony they felt and the final thoughts that went through their minds as this vicious individual inflicted wounds so serious that they had no chance of surviving.

"Did you relate the excited urgency in your message of spreading 'big news' and preparing for a busy shift that countless lives had been destroyed forever."

She said she had the "utmost respect" for the emergency services, but added that anyone who "can witness the details of such a horror as happened in the early hours of the 14th June 2023; and refer to lost children as butchered animals; should seriously consider their position".

The officer who sent the message has received a warning from the force.

Emma Webber said she was sickened to see police shared details about her son's injuries
Emma Webber said she was sickened to see police shared details about her son's injuries. Picture: Alamy

Ms Webber added: "I pray you will read this and pause for a while. Dig a little deeper for compassion and care. Show the respect in the future that you did not afford Barney.

"My aim is not to cause undue shame, or to have anyone publicly vilified; there's no need to add yet more pain; I just hope that by reaching out to educate and explain, my voice might make a difference.

"If you feel able and wish to make contact know that you can and it will be kept fully private".

Ms Webber told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast earlier this year that graphic information about the injuries suffered by her son and the two other victims - including body camera footage - were shared in a police WhatsApp group.

"We were not told, they did not formally advise the families of these breaches of data, and/or of the misconduct period," she said.

Mother of Barnaby Webber will 'never forgive' Nottinghamshire Police for 'catastrophic failures'

"We found out about it through the media and that in itself is very wrong.

"We are horrified and sickened to know that police officers, or police personnel, would think it's appropriate to do anything like that.

Read more: Nottingham triple-killer Valdo Calocane to have sentence reviewed for being 'unduly lenient'

"I think the words we've used is 'abhorrent voyeurism' and I would ask the people who did look at that and share that to take a look at themselves, their own family…. how would they feel?

"The police have finally given us details yesterday, because we'd asked the chief constable [Kate Meynell], and we got a letter last night containing details because we've had lots of varying versions of it. It's just another failing by Nottinghamshire Police."

Grace was killed as she tried to save her friend Barnaby
Grace was killed as she tried to save her friend Barnaby. Picture: Handout

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Cooper said their words "were crude and distasteful".

Ms Webber told Nick: "We've had an apology for us not being informed in advance and then we had the detail of how seriously they take this, and officers are specially trained, and ya ya ya, and lessons will be learned.

"But that doesn't really help with the pain of knowing that people were viewing the bodycam footage of seeing my son in the street.

Read more: Nottingham triple-killing families 'sickened' by cops sharing gruesome details of attacks over WhatsApp

Calocane's sentence was condemned by the families
Calocane's sentence was condemned by the families. Picture: Police

"I will never forgive them for that. But there are other matters we have to address at the moment."

Barnaby was stabbed to death by Calocane, a paranoid schizophrenic, early on June 13 2023.

Grace, his friend, was killed as she bravely tried to intervene to save him.

Calocane then attacked and killed Mr Coates, 65, before taking his van to drive at pedestrians, seriously injuring them, before he was trapped and Tasered.

Calocane believed that voices in his head were real and had travelled to MI5 in London in the hope they would stop them.

He was given an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter by diminished responsibility.