Man pleads guilty to killing two university students and school caretaker in Nottingham

28 November 2023, 11:30 | Updated: 28 November 2023, 13:01

Valdo Calocane (L) admitted killing Ian Coats (C), Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar
Valdo Calocane (L) admitted killing Ian Coats (C), Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar. Picture: Alamy/Social Media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A man has admitted to killing university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar and school caretaker Ian Coates in Nottingham earlier this year.

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The trio died after being stabbed in Nottingham in the early hours of June 13.

Valdo Calocane, 32, pleaded not guilty to their murder but guilty to manslaughter at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday morning.

He also pleaded guilty to the attempted murders of three others in a spate of attacks in Nottingham earlier this year.

Read More: Victims in Nottingham attacks all suffered stab wounds to the chest, inquest hears

Calocane's pleas have been entered on the basis of diminished responsibility, his barrister Peter Joyce KC told the court.

The case has been adjourned until January 16, 2024.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Valdo Calocane (right)
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Valdo Calocane (right). Picture: Alamy

Barnaby's family, including his mum Emma, paid tribute to her late son following his death, describing him as "beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to".

His funeral was held just over one month after this death, during which his mum vowed to her family that "one day the dawn will break for us" in an emotional speech.

Both Ms O'Malley-Kumar and Mr Coates, 65, who also died, were remembered at the service.

The funeral service for Barnaby Webber at Taunton Minster in Taunton
The funeral service for Barnaby Webber at Taunton Minster in Taunton. Picture: Alamy

Read More: 'One day the dawn will break for us': Mother of Nottingham attack victim Barnaby Webber sobs during funeral address

A friend of Mr Coates hailed him as a "pillar of the community" as he recalled how he helped him at school.

Mr Coates' friend Ben Dutton paid tribute to Mr Coates, and told LBC how the older man introduced him to fishing while he was a caretaker at his school - which Mr Dutton has since pursued professionally.

"He basically set up a small fishing club for the lads that didn't want to do much else," Mr Dutton said.

"And not just for them - for anyone that was just interested in the sport.

"And he set up a small fishing club within our school and progressed as on from there, taking us all around the country out of his own pocket".

Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s family, meanwhile, described the student as a “truly wonderful and beautiful young lady” and that she would be “so dearly missed”.

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