Nottingham attacks: Valdo Calocane’s sentence referred to Court of Appeal as ‘unduly lenient’

Valdo Calocane, 32, fatally stabbed three people on the morning of June 13.

The sentence of Nottingham attacks killer Valdo Calocane has been referred to the Court of Appeal has being “unduly lenient”.

Calocane fatally stabbed Students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, on the morning of June 13.

In a decision widely criticised by families of the victims, prosecutors accepted his court plea of guilty to manslaughter with diminished responsibility in January.

He was then sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to spend an indeterminate time in a secure hospital.

On Tuesday (February 20) Attorney General Victoria Prentis said she had ruled the sentence “unduly lenient” and referred it to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has the final legal say on whether a sentence handed down by a judge should be changed or not. The court may decide to keep the sentence the same, increase it, or refuse the application.

It cannot rule on whether Calocane should have been charged with different offences or whether it was right to accept pleas to the offences.

Tuesday’s decision by Ms Prentis followed a meeting with families of the victims, who have previously said they felt Calocane had escaped justice when his plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter was accepted.

He had previously been charged with murder, but his plea of guilty to manslaughter was originally accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service after it emerged he had been suffering from severe mental ill health at the time of the attacks.

This had included paranoid schizophrenia, meaning he was suffering from delusions including hearing voices.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to murder three pedestrians who he tried to run over with by a van on the same morning as part of the attacks. One of them suffered life-changing injuries.

The indeterminate hospital order sentence was also applied to these crimes, meaning they will form part of the review.

Announcing the decision, 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.

“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.”

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