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

12 February 2024, 19:14 | Updated: 12 February 2024, 19:15

University of Nottingham students Barnaby Webber (bottom right), Grace O'Malley-Kumar (top right), and Ian Coates (top middle) were killed by Valdo Calocane
University of Nottingham students Barnaby Webber (bottom right), Grace O'Malley-Kumar (top right), and Ian Coates (top middle) were killed by Valdo Calocane. Picture: Handout

By Christian Oliver

The policing watchdog has started investigating the force's contact with Valdo Calocane after he murdered three people in a violent attack in June last year.

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was investigating Nottingham Police's handling of the murder investigation after the force voluntarily referred itself following complaints from the victims' families.

University of Nottingham students Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar, both 19, were killed in the attacks alongside keen fisherman and school caretaker Ian Coates.

IOPC said in a statement: "The complaints allege there were flaws in the handling of the murder investigation and missed opportunities by police to prevent the deaths.

"Allegations have also been made in respect of the non-execution of an outstanding warrant for Calocane’s arrest prior to the killings, and concerns raised about Nottinghamshire Police’s communication with the families."

Following the fatal stabbings, Calocane, a paranoid schizophrenic, went on to try and kill several more after stealing Mr Coates' van and mowing people down in the street.

(left-right) James Coates, son of Ian Coates, Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber and Dr Sanjoy Kumar, father of Grace O'Malley-Kumar
(left-right) James Coates, son of Ian Coates, Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber and Dr Sanjoy Kumar, father of Grace O'Malley-Kumar. Picture: Alamy

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It has since emerged that Calocane was wanted by police following a number of assaults. He had also been sectioned four times.

Mr Webber's mum last month has called for a public inquiry into the deaths of her son, Ms O'Malley-Kumar and Mr Coates.

“Questions must be asked, answers must be given and, where appropriate, lessons must be learned,” Ms Webber told The Times in January.

Colocane was detained in a high-security hospital after being charged with manslaughter instead of murder due to diminished responsibility.

The Attorney General will review the case following a complaint, but Barnaby's mum is still calling for a public inquiry.

“If you had kids you would do anything to make sure justice was served,” she added.

Barnaby Webber's family (left to right) father David Webber, mother Emma Webber and brother Charlie Webber, arrive at Nottingham Crown Court where Valdo Calocane was sentenced
Barnaby Webber's family (left to right) father David Webber, mother Emma Webber and brother Charlie Webber, arrive at Nottingham Crown Court where Valdo Calocane was sentenced. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Police force refers itself to watchdog over probe into 'assaults' by Nottingham triple killer Valdo Calocane

Read More: Special review launched into NHS trust where Nottingham triple killer was treated before attacks

IOPC Director of Operations, Steve Noonan, said following the investigation announcement: “Our sympathies are with the families of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and Ian Coates, and everyone else affected by the tragic events which took place on June 13 last year.

"We have now decided to investigate complaints made about Nottinghamshire Police’s involvement with Valdo Calocane.

"Along with this we are investigating the actions and decisions of Leicestershire Police, which we announced last week.”

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