Urgent review ordered into Nottingham attacker's manslaughter pleas after families hit out at failings to stop killer

30 January 2024, 12:55 | Updated: 30 January 2024, 13:21

Relatives of Calocane's victims are angry with his sentence and charges
Relatives of Calocane's victims are angry with his sentence and charges. Picture: Handout/Alamy/Social media

By Will Taylor

A review has been launched into why prosecutors chose to accept Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane's manslaughter pleas - instead of pushing for murder.

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Calocane, 32, killed three people on a knife rampage in the city last year.

He has now been given a hospital order due to his paranoid schizophrenia, as prosecutors decided to accept his guilty pleas to manslaughter.

But furious relatives of the victims say they should have pushed for tougher charges - and fear his sentence will leave them in constant fear that he will one day be let out.

Read more: Inside plush secure hospital Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane is detained in after stabbing three people to death

Attorney general Victoria Prentis has now confirmed an independent review into the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to accept the manslaughter pleas.

It comes after relatives met with Rishi Sunak on Monday evening, with the prime minister vowing "we will get the answers".

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

Calocane was given an indefinite hospital order
Calocane was given an indefinite hospital order. Picture: Police
Barnaby and Ian were killed by Calocane
Barnaby and Ian were killed by Calocane. Picture: Social media

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.

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

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.

Grace was killed as she bravely tried to defend her friend
Grace was killed as she bravely tried to defend her friend. Picture: Social media

Last week, he was sent to a secure hospital indefinitely after prosecutors accepted his manslaughter pleas.

But grieving relatives have said they are angry that they did not push for tougher charges and criticised the sentence.

Barnaby Webber's father David said outside No10 on Monday, after meeting Mr Sunak: "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. A number of questions have been raised about whether there were chances to stop him before the attacks.

Leicestershire Police has referred itself to the IOPC watchdog over investigations into an alleged assault by Calocane just weeks before he launched his killings.

Updates to follow

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