Teenage hockey star named as second student, 19, killed in Nottingham van and knife rampage

13 June 2023, 21:34 | Updated: 14 June 2023, 10:56

The two student victims have been named as Barnaby Webber and Grace Kumar
The two student victims have been named as Barnaby Webber and Grace Kumar. Picture: social media/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Teenage hockey star and student Grace Kumar has been named as one of the victims killed in a random attack in Nottingham on Tuesday morning.

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Earlier today, another Nottingham University student - Barnaby Webber - was named as one of the victims in the attack.

Grace, 19, was considered an up-and-coming hockey star, rising through the ranks at London's Southgate Hockey team and having played for England's under-18s.

In total, three people were killed and three more were injured in a stabbing and vehicle rampage as the attacker tried to mow members of the public down in a van.

One man remains in a critical condition.

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Read More: Tributes have been pouring in for 'star' students Barnaby Webber and Grace Kumar

Grace and Barnaby, both 19, are believed to have been on their way home from a night out at the time of the attack.

Barnaby's grandfather Phil Robson confirmed he had been involved this afternoon, according to the Sun.

"It’s tragic. We can’t say anything at the moment. Everyone knows the family locally," he said.

Police said in an update on Tuesday evening that they believed the suspect behind the random attack stole a van from another victim and drove it at members of the public.

The motives behind the attack are still yet to be determined.

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Grace is understood to have died alongside Barnaby
Grace is understood to have died alongside Barnaby. Picture: social media
Barnaby Webber
Barnaby Webber. Picture: social media

Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Kate Meynell, speaking outside a police station in the city, said: "Police were called to Ilkeston Road just after 4am after a member of the public reported that two people aged 19 had been stabbed and were unresponsive.

"We had a further call to another incident in Milton Street, where the driver of a stolen van had attempted to run over three people. As a result, one man is in hospital in a critical condition while two others are believed to have suffered minor injuries.

"The van was then stopped on Maple Street, where a man was tasered and detained by police officers on suspicion of murder. A man in his 50s was also found dead from knife injuries in Magdala Road by a member of the public.

"At the moment, we believe that the suspect has stolen this man's vehicle and driven it to Milton Street, where he is then driven at members of the public.

"We are still in the early stages of the investigation. I need to determine exactly what the motives were behind this attack."

Read More: 'A truly horrendous, tragic incident': Hundreds gather for vigil to pay tribute to victims of Nottingham attack

Barnaby's cricket club Bishops Hull wrote in a devastating statement: "Today we learnt of the death of our dear friend and team mate, Barnaby Webber."

Barney was attacked at the early hours of this morning walking home with a friend after a night out and had lost his life.

"'Webbs' joined the club back in 2021 and has since then been a key part of our club and made such an impact in such a short space of time.

"Playing more than 30 games for the club, scoring 622 runs, and taking 29 wickets, his memory will live on."

Flowers and candles lie at the altar after being placed by friends of the deceased during a vigil at St Peter’s Church
Flowers and candles lie at the altar after being placed by friends of the deceased during a vigil at St Peter’s Church. Picture: Getty

Nottingham major incident: Full police statement

It comes after Nottingham University confirmed students were involved, saying: "It is with great sadness that we confirm the sudden and unexpected death of two of our students following a major incident in Nottingham city centre overnight.

"We are shocked and devastated by the news and our thoughts are with those affected, their families and friends. We know this is likely to cause distress for staff and students in our community."

Hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the victims at a vigil at St Peter's Church in the city centre on Tuesday evening.

During the service, attended by mainly young people of university age, those present were invited to place flowers below the altar or light a candle.

The Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, said the impromptu service was an opportunity to "pray for those whose lives have so cruelly taken away".

The bishop also said the city was "in collective shock and disbelief."

Home Secretary Suella Braverman also expressed shock at the attack, saying: "First of all, I want to say how shocked and saddened I am that three people have lost their lives earlier today in Nottingham and that further individuals have been injured in this tragic incident.

"My thoughts first and foremost are with all of those who have been involved, their friends, their families and their communities.

"I want to thank the emergency services for their rapid response. They're working around the clock to keep people safe and we're incredibly grateful for their efforts."

Barnaby was on the way home from a night out with a female student
Barnaby was on the way home from a night out with a female student. Picture: Facebook

Read more: 'A truly horrendous, tragic incident': Hundreds gather for vigil to pay tribute to victims of Nottingham attack

Read more: Anti-terror cops swarm Nottingham after two people stabbed to death and three more mowed down with van

Earlier in the day, a student told the Daily Telegraph: "They just got unlucky. They were five minutes from home and got stabbed by a random guy."

A witness said he saw a young man and woman get stabbed in Ilkeston Road, west of the city centre, at about 4am, before the attacker calmly walked off.

The witness, who did not give his name, said: "Being a hot night, I had the window open and I just heard some awful, blood-curdling screams.

"It's often quite busy with people coming back from town and you get the usual boyfriend-girlfriend arguments, so I thought it was something like that."

When he looked out of his window, he saw a "black guy dressed all in black with a hood and rucksack grappling with some people".

"She was screaming 'Help!' I just wish I'd shouted something out of the window to unnerve the assailant," he told the BBC.

"I saw him stab the lad first and then the woman. It was repeated stabbing - four or five times. The lad collapsed in the middle of the road."

Armed police have been seen carrying out a raid on a property on Ilkeston Road, where the first two victims were found dead in the street. Two women were seen being led into a police van by counter-terror police.

Mohammed Qasim and Nisar Ahmed, who work at Xclusive Hair Studio next door to a property on Ilkeston Road where uniformed officers are stood outside, said the property had been raided last year.

Mr Qasim said they were in the shop when the property was raided.

"The for sale sign has been up for about two-three months.

"We haven't seen anyone since," he said.

Another witness Joshua Fenner, told LBC: “I woke up about 5.30am and I heard shouting outside. We get stuff like that all the time.

“Outside my window I see a police car and a policeman running towards what seems to be a white van still parked at the end of our road.

“The policeman was shouting 'get out of the car.'"

The van was stopped and a man detained by police
The van was stopped and a man detained by police. Picture: Alamy

How the attacks unfolded

4am - Male attacker stabs a young man and a young woman on Ilkeston Road. Police later found two people dead.

5.10am - Man found dead on Magdala road after reports of 'screaming'. A resident believes what he heard was the sound of the body being discovered.

5.30am - Man in a white van hits people at around 5.30am on Milton Street near the Theatre Royal.

5.40am - Witness Kane Brady wakes up to 'gunshots' and sees a person tasered, dragged out of a van and arrested.

Student in Nottingham recounts what he saw amid serious incident

"The girl stumbled towards a house and didn't move. The next minute she had disappeared down the side of a house, and that's where they found her.

"I'd say it all happened within five or six minutes. The attacker then just walked off up Ilkeston Road towards town, as calm as anything."

He called the police who arrived in under five minutes. Paramedics tried to save both victims for 40 minutes.

Read more: Nottingham police incident: Three dead and three injured after linked attacks in city centre - live updates

Others have spoken about the attack, which led police - including armed officers- to shut down parts of the city and cordon off roads in the centre and within about a mile away.

Police were called to Ilkeston Road just after 4am to find the two people dead in the street.

Officers were then called to Milton Street, about a mile east, in the centre of the city, where a van tried to run three people over. They have been taken to hospital.

Armed police swept on Nottingham
Armed police swept on Nottingham. Picture: Alamy

A man was also found dead in Magdala Road, about a mile north of Milton Street. It is believed all the incidents are linked.

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is in custody.

Eyewitness Lynn Haggitt was by the Theatre Royal, in the city's centre, when a white van pulled up to her at 5.30am.

"He looked in his mirror, saw a police car behind him, he then quickened up, there were two people, two in the corner, he went straight into these two people," she told the BBC.

Read more: Three killed and others injured after van tries to run people over in Nottingham as man arrested for murder

"The woman went on the kerb, the man went up in the air, there was such a bang, I wish I never saw it, it's really shaken me up.

"I went over, perhaps I shouldn't have gone over but I wanted to see if I could help.

"He (the van driver) backed up after he hit... and drove up Parliament Street.

"The woman was sitting up on the kerb, she looked OK. The man was laying down, but then he got up, sat on the side waiting for an ambulance," Ms Haggitt said, adding "I can't believe he was able to get up after the head wound".

Three people were killed across Nottingham
Three people were killed across Nottingham. Picture: Alamy

She told Channel 4 News the driver appeared to go "straight into them, he didn't even bother to turn, just went straight back to them".

The area was cordoned off by police.

In Bentinck Road, about a mile north-west of the city centre, a white Vauxhall Vivaro van was stopped away from the pavement with its passenger door open.

Kane Brady, a University of Nottingham student, said he was woken up as police tried to detain a man who was in the van.

"We woke up to shouts of 'armed police' and what... sounded like some very loud noises, what sounded like gunshots - it was that loud," he told GB News.

"I looked out the bedroom window and saw Tasers. I saw a man being dragged out (of the van) and pinned to the floor.

"I saw him getting arrested, him trying to resist. I then later saw when they opened the van, I saw a large knife being pulled out and then straight away that's when police closed off both roads, both Maples Street and Bentinck Road."

Police described the incident as horrific
Police described the incident as horrific. Picture: Alamy

The deaths have shocked the city, which woke up to swathes of the centre shut down due to the police cordons.

A resident in Ilkeston Road said he was was asked for CCTV footage by a policewoman "banging on my door" about 5am.

The man, who called himself Wayne, said he had not seen anything.

Nottinghamshire Police's Chief Constable Kate Meynell said it was "an horrific and tragic incident" and the deaths are all thought to be linked.

Rishi Sunak said he was being kept updated and called it a "shocking incident".

The city's three Labour MPs, Nadia Whittome, Lilian Greenwood and Alex Norris, said Nottingham had been "devastated" by the deaths.