UK

Victims’ families describe ‘crippling’ grief after ‘unbelievably savage’ killings

The families of three people who were stabbed to death in Nottingham have told a court of the “crippling” grief they have felt after losing their loved ones.

Two 19-year-old university students, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber, and 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates were “deliberately and mercilessly” killed by 32-year-old Valdo Calocane on 13 June last year.

Calocane, also known as Adam Medes, denied three counts of murder but admitted three counts of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility in November 2023, which the Crown Prosecution accepted on Tuesday.

In impact statements read aloud to Nottingham Crown Court, Mr Webber’s parents, Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s parents and her younger brother, and Mr Coates’s son spoke of the effect Calocane’s crimes have had on their lives.

Read more: Nottingham attacks victim a ‘hero’, say family

David Webber, Mr Webber’s father, said the “waves” of pain he has experienced since his eldest son’s death have been “crippling” as he branded Calocane a “monster”.

Undated handout photo issued by Nottinghamshire Police of Valdo Calocane. Prosecutors have accepted Calocane's pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness, for the murders of Grace O'Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others, in a spate of attacks in Nottingham on June 13 2023. Issue date: Tuesday January 23, 2024.
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Valdo Calocane was branded a ‘monster’ and a ‘despicable killer’

“Barnaby was a vibrant, loving boy who was growing into a man and starting to live his best life,” he said.

“As a father I dreaded him leaving home [to go to university] but I loved my visits to see him; he always had a smile to welcome me.”

Addressing Calocane, he added: “Due to your unbelievably savage actions, I will never get that again. I believe in karma, I hope you get all you deserve for the rest of your life.”

Emma Webber, Mr Webber’s mother, said she “would give anything” to hear her son’s voice again.

Speaking from the witness box, she said she had been “terrified” before viewing his body in a hospital chapel of rest, but added she was glad she did, and her son “had the final kiss of his forehead from me. It’s something that no parent should ever have to do”.

Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar were attacked at around 4am on Ilkeston Road by Calocane while walking back to their student accommodation after an end of term night out, prosecutor Karim Khalil KC told the court.

Undated family handout file photo issued by Nottinghamshire Police of 19-year-old Grace O'Malley-Kumar. Prosecutors have accepted Valdo Calocane's pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness, for the murders of Grace O'Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others, in a spate of attacks in Nottingham on June 13 2023. Issue date: Tuesday January 23, 2024.
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Grace O’Malley-Kumar’s mother said the world is a more sorrowful place without her daughter

‘Dizzy with grief’

“I feel absolute desolation and unfathomable grief at her loss. The world is a more sorrowful place without her,” Sinead O’Malley, Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s mother, said.

“My daily life is consumed with her loss and full of tears. I am dizzy with grief, I have been to the darkest corners of my mind.”

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Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, added: “The impact of losing our daughter has been utterly devastating for our whole family and our friends.”

He praised his daughter for “heroically and valiantly” fighting off “despicable” killer Calocane who he said should be “removed from society altogether and forever”.

Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s 17-year-old younger brother, James, said the killer had “put him through hell”.

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Bereaved dad on loss of Grace

“No god would allow people like you to exist,” he told Calocane across the packed courtroom.

Caretaker Mr Coates suffered wounds to his abdomen and chest after he was repeatedly stabbed, just five months away from retirement, his son James said in court.

“He didn’t get the chance because a selfish monster decided to go on a spree killing,” he said.

“To have a life taken so horrifically is something you will never come to terms with. The effect this has had on us cannot be put into words. The reason for our very existence, gone.”

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