First photo emerges of Nottingham killings suspect as he 'tries to break into homeless hostel'

14 June 2023, 13:17 | Updated: 14 June 2023, 14:16

The suspect was pictured trying to break into a care home
The suspect was pictured trying to break into a care home. Picture: Sky News

By Kit Heren

The first photo of a suspect in the Nottingham killings has emerged, as he tried to break into a homeless hostel.

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The man can be seen arriving at Seely Hirst House on Mapperley Road in Nottingham at about 4am.

A CCTV still shows him trying to climb in an open window of the hostel after students Barnaby Webber and Grace Kumar, both aged 19, had been killed nearby.

A resident of the hostel woke up and punched him, which sent him falling backwards, Sky News reported.

Police tape today at Seely Hirst House which the Nottingham suspect tried to enter
Police tape today at Seely Hirst House which the Nottingham suspect tried to enter. Picture: LBC

Three people were killed in the Nottingham attacks in the early hours of Tuesday morning - Barnaby, Grace and school caretaker Ian Coates, who was in his 60s. Three more people were injured.

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Seely Hirst House in Nottingham
Seely Hirst House in Nottingham. Picture: Google Street View

A care home resident, who did not want to be identified, said: "He tried to get into my window. Thank God I woke up as I might have been dead."

Alex Pridmore, a trustee of the hostel, told Sky News: "I've no idea why he chose here. He's never stayed here so he has no links".

He added: "As you can imagine everyone is a bit shaken by what happened. We look after vulnerable people so we're just relieved that he didn't gain entry."

Nottinghamshire Police said: "It is known that a man attacked two University of Nottingham students with a knife on Ilkeston Road on Tuesday 13 June.

"A call was made to police at 4.04am. Police quickly attended and found a male and female student, aged 19, in the street unresponsive.

Barnaby Webber
Barnaby Webber. Picture: social media

"Investigations have then revealed that a man matching the description of the suspect had attempted to gain entry to a supported living complex in Mapperley Road but had been denied entry.

"This incident was not reported to the police at the time. Police believe the suspect has then attacked a man and stolen his van."

It is understood the suspect, 31, is from West Africa and he has legally lived in the UK for years. Reports suggest he had been in Britain since his teenage years.

Read more: 'Beautiful, brilliant, young man': Family's tribute to student killed in Nottingham attack in 'senseless murder'

Read more: Morning of horror: How the Nottingham attacks broke out as students and man killed and three others injured in rampage

Grace Kumar
Grace Kumar . Picture: Social Media

The attack, which would have taken place when the streets were much quieter than later in the day, raised public concern over whether it was a terror attack. Counter-terror officers were deployed to help in raids.

But police have not declared it as such and are examining the suspect's mental health.

After Grace and Barnaby were attacked, Mr Coates was killed and the suspect stole his van. The attacker then took the van, which he drove into three people in the city centre.

One is in a critical condition in hospital while the other two escaped with minor injuries. The suspect was arrested soon afterwards.

Read more: 'A big soft puppy': Cricket coach's tribute to 'fine young man' killed in Nottingham as he recalled his 'cheeky grin'

Read more: Nottingham is a city in grief but will never forget the names of Barnaby Webber and Grace Kumar

Ian Coates was the third victim identified
Ian Coates was the third victim identified. Picture: Huntingdon Academy/Alamy

Nottingham University students Grace and Barnaby, who had apparently met over a love of hockey, were heading back from a night at Pryzm nightclub. A witness told the BBC he heard "awful, blood-curdling screams"

He said he saw a "black guy dressed all in black with a hood and rucksack grappling with some people".

The unnamed witness added: "She was screaming, 'Help!' I just wish I'd shouted something out of the window to unnerve the assailant.

"I saw him stab the lad first and then the woman. It was repeated stabbing - four or five times. The lad collapsed in the middle of the road.

Read more: Third victim of Nottingham attack named as school caretaker as devastated son says 'I'm broken'

Read more: Tributes paid to 'fun, brilliant' student Grace Kumar, one of three killed in 'devastating' Nottingham attacks

Grace Kumar
Grace Kumar. Picture: Social media

Read more: Nottingham attack suspect 'is West African man, 31, who has legally lived in UK for years' as cops probe mental health

"The girl stumbled towards a house and didn't move. The next minute she had disappeared down the side of a house and that's where they found her.

"I'd say it all happened within five or six minutes. The attacker then just walked off up Ilkeston Road towards town, as calm as anything."

Mr Coates was found dead at about 5am. The van was driven into three people at 5.30am. The suspect was arrested some time after 5.30am.

Barnaby Wallace, pictured with his younger brother, in an image issued by his devastated family
Barnaby Wallace, pictured with his younger brother, in an image issued by his devastated family. Picture: Family handout

The family and friends of Grace, Barnaby and Ian have paid tribute to the victims of the killings.

Ian’s brother Phil said: “I can't sleep, trying to understand what's happened, Ian had led a good life but Grace and Barnaby were just starting out, just absolutely numb at the moment.”

Barnaby's family called him "a beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to."

Grace's former hockey and cricket teams called her "fiercely competitive" and "fun, friendly and brilliant."