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Nottingham attacker’s ‘unduly lenient’ sentence to be referred to Court of Appeal

The sentence of the Nottingham attacker who stabbed two students and a caretaker to death will be referred to the Court of Appeal after the attorney general found it to be “unduly lenient”.

Valdo Calocane was sentenced to be detained at a high security hospital order for fatally stabbing Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and Ian Coates, 65, in June 2023.

The victims’ families criticised the sentence, as well as authorities they save could have helped prevent the tragedy.

Calocane, who also tried to kill three others with a van, was handed the sentence after prosecutors accepted his manslaughter plea rather than pursuing a murder conviction.

The deal was done as experts agreed he had paranoid schizophrenia so wasn’t fully responsible for his actions.

The victims’ families had met with Attorney General Victoria Prentis and Solicitor General Robert Courts before they reached their decision to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.

The families said in a statement after the decision: “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.

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“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.”

The families added that they are calling for “organisational and individual accountability” and “where relevant, proper change made”.

Mr Justice Turner, who sentenced Calocane last month, said the 32-year-old would “very probably” be detained in a high-security hospital for the rest of his life.

The families of the three people who were killed were united outside court as they accused the Crown Prosecution Service, police and the NHS of multiple failures.

They said prosecutors had already made up their minds when they informed them they would accept Calocane’s manslaughter plea.

“At no point during the previous five-and-a-half-months were we given any indication that this could conclude in anything other than murder,” said Mr Webber’s mum Emma.

She said although Calocane was mentally unwell, the attacks were premeditated and “he knew entirely that it was wrong but he did it anyway”.

Nottingham Crown Court heard he had previously been detained in hospital four times under mental health laws and had a history of refusing his medication.

Calocane was also arrested for assaulting a police officer in September 2021, involved in criminal damage and once visited MI5 headquarters to ask them to stop “controlling him”.

Ms Webber also accused Nottinghamshire Police of having “blood on your hands” after it emerged Calocane had been arrested for assaulting a police officer in September 2021.

Calocane’s arrest warrant was still outstanding at the time of the killings.

Rob Griffin, Nottinghamshire Police’s assistant chief constable, admitted “we should have done more to arrest him” after he failed to appear in court for assaulting the officer.

However, he said it was unlikely Calocane would have been jailed and there wasn’t anything “obvious” to suggest he would commit the savage attacks.

Sky News Source