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

20 February 2024, 11:28 | Updated: 20 February 2024, 12:00

Calocane was sent to a secure hospital for manslaughter
Calocane was sent to a secure hospital for manslaughter. Picture: Police/Social media

By Kit Heren

Valdo Calocane, the Nottingham triple-killer, will have his sentence reviewed by the Court of Appeal over concerns it was unduly lenient.

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Paranoid schizophrenic Calocane was given an indefinite hospital order in late January after pleading guilty to manslaughter for the killings of Barnaby Webber, Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates last June.

Victoria Prentis, the attorney-general, asked the courts to decide if Calocane should be sent to prison if he were ever discharged from his psychiatric hospital.

Calocane, 32, was originally charged with murder after killing the trio in a knife rampage on the morning of June 13. He also pleaded guilty to attempted murder after running over three people in a van that he had stolen from Mr Coates.

But his charge was later downgraded to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility because of his mental illness.

Read more: Nottingham triple killer Valdo Calocane detained in high-security hospital 'for life' after knife and van rampage

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

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

Ms Prentis said: "Valdo Calocane's crimes were horrific and have shocked a nation. He brutally killed three innocent people, and violently attacked three other victims. Their experiences will stay in our minds for a long time to come.

"This was a case that evoked strong feelings amongst so many people and it was no surprise that I received so many referrals under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to consider the Hospital Order handed to Calocane.

"My duty as a law officer in considering whether sentences may be unduly lenient is to act independently of Government, even when it is not easy or popular.

"Having received detailed legal advice and considered the issues raised very carefully, I have concluded that the sentence imposed against Calocane, for the offences of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and attempted murder, was unduly lenient and will be referred to the Court of Appeal.

Calocane . Picture: Police

"My thoughts remain with all of Calocane's victims, as well as their families and friends, who have shown such immeasurable strength during this devastating time."

The families of Nottingham attack victims welcomed the sentence's referral to the Court of Appeal.

They said in a joint statement: "We were very glad to hear that the Attorney General has agreed with us that the sentencing given to Valdo Calocane, who so viciously and calculatedly killed our loved ones was wrong.

"We are optimistic that when this reaches the Royal Courts of Justice for its appeal there will be an outcome that provides some of the appropriate justice that we have been calling for.

"It is important to remember that this is just one part of the tragic failures in this case. The investigation into the mental health trust, the CPS and the Nottingham and Leicestershire Police still continue.

"We maintain that there are serious failures in all three agencies that must be fully addressed. Organisational and individual accountability must be taken and where relevant, proper change made."

The families had earlier criticised prosecutors for the lesser charge, saying they had felt rushed into accepting it.

Review to be ordered into Nottingham attacker’s manslaughter conviction

Calocane killed Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar as they walked back to accommodation in Nottingham early on June 13.

He hacked Barnaby to death and Grace was killed as she bravely tried to intervene to save her friend.

Calocane tried to break into a homelessness hostel after, but was fought off, so he instead killed Ian Coates, a school caretaker, and stole his van.

He drove into three pedestrians, all of whom were lucky to survive, before being boxed in by police and Tasered.

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

Calocane heard voices that he believed controlled him, and he even went to MI5 in London thinking the domestic spy agency could stop them.

He believed the voices were real and stopped taking his medication some time ahead of the attack. He does not believe he is mentally ill.

The bereaved families met Rishi Sunak a few days after the court case.

Barnaby Webber's father David said outside No10: "We did get an assurance from the Prime Minister himself that if it's required, they're not ruling out a public inquiry (into the attack), and they will do a public inquiry."

Ms O'Malley-Kumar's brother James said: "We're not in a rush. We've lost our loved ones now, we've lost Grace, we've lost Ian (Coates), we've lost Barnaby (Webber) - we want (an investigation into the attacks) to be as thorough as possible to make sure those gaps are filled and the relevant people have been held accountable.

"The Prime Minister said that there are plenty of options that could be taken (including) the public inquiry."

Mr Coates's son James said different agencies have failed.