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

12 March 2024, 10:15 | Updated: 12 March 2024, 12:37

Emma Webber (left) speaking to LBC
Emma Webber (left) has criticised Nottinghamshire Police for its handling of the investigation into the murder of her son Barnaby, as well as two others. Picture: LBC

By Flaminia Luck

The mother of knife attack victim Barnaby Webber has called for change from Nottinghamshire Police after the force was placed into special measures by a watchdog.

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His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) put the force into special measures yesterday.

The move comes amid criticism of its handling of the case of Valdo Calocane, who killed three people in a knife rampage last June.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC this morning, Emma Webber called for "proper change and accountability" from the force, which she said she has had a "really difficult relationship" with.

Tom Swarbrick speaks to Barnaby Webber's mother on new Police special measures

"Every single part of our dealing with Nottinghamshire Police Force has been pretty poor," she said.

Ms Webber said they had "grave concerns" regarding the investigation into the attack which claimed the life of her 19-year-old son, as well as two others.

She said added that the communication was "so poor" they did not know until very late on there had been "prior contact [with Calocane] and missed opportunities".

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

Calocane - a paranoid schizophrenic - was wanted by police following a number of assaults. He had also been sectioned four times.

She added they had to become "part investigators and detectives ourselves to uncover answers to simple questions".

"We weren't kept informed. We were misled," she said, adding there were "mistruths" in regards to parts of the investigation.

"It's devastating to try and deal with this on top of the enormity of the murder of our son," she said.

Calocane is serving a hospital order after admitting killing university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both aged 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65.

He is to have his sentence reviewed by the Court of Appeal over concerns it was unduly lenient.

Nottingham attacker Valdo Calocane
Nottingham attacker Valdo Calocane. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police

Ms Webber said they have received no public, official apology from the force, adding this is "not good enough".

She criticised the "weak" and "poor" leadership of the force.

"We know that there are some amazing police officers out there in Nottingham doing a wonderful job and we would never want to just wholly criticise all of those public servants.

Where you take the big job and big responsibility then the buck does stop with you," she said.

READ MORE: Police watchdog investigates Nottingham force over contact with triple killer Valdo Calocane

Nottinghamshire Police has been placed in special measures amid concern over the force’s ability to carry out effective investigations and support victims.

The IOPC launched an investigation into complaints about the force’s previous contact with Calocane and its handling of the subsequent investigation into the killings.

The complaints allege there were “flaws in the handling of the investigation and missed opportunities by police to prevent the killings”.

The watchdog is also considering complaints regarding an outstanding warrant for Calocane’s arrest before the fatal attacks and concerns raised about Nottinghamshire Police’s communication with the families.

Candid interview with brother of Nottingham victim Grace O'Malley-Kumar

Speaking to LBC previously, Grace’s brother James O’Malley-Kumar said that his family has been “let down’ after police admitted they could have "done more" to stop Calocane.

Asked if his family would welcome a public inquiry into the case, he said: “Of course, as I said, we do not think justice has been served.“We want investigations to carry on because we have been let down by CPS, the NHS and also the police.

“Chief Constable Rob Griffin has blood on his hands, he told us they’d done everything they could and then within 24 hours said they could have done a lot more.

“There was a warrant for this man for nine months and it’s a complete failing of the police that he was still on the streets in June.“I think he would have been put in front of Magistrates and put back in the mental health system.

And that could have possibly meant he was not roaming the streets on June 13 and Grace could’ve still been here.”

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