Prosecutors made ‘correct decision’ to accept Nottingham attacks killer’s manslaughter pleas, review finds

Grace O'Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber, both 19, and Ian Coates, 65, died in the June 2023 attacks.

Prosecutors made the “correct decision” when they accepted guilty manslaughter pleas from Nottingham attacks killer Valdo Calocane, a review has found.

But inspectors also said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) could have better supported the families of the victims.

HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate also urged the Government to review how homicide and ‘diminished responsibility’ is dealt with in law.

The report, published on Monday (March 25), follows strong criticism of the CPS from the families of attacks victims Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates.

All three were all killed in a series of knife attacks carried out by Calocane across Nottingham on the morning of June 13 2023.

Calocane was initially charged with murder, but the CPS decided to accept pleas of manslaughter with diminished responsibility he later entered at court. At the time it said it had done so following consultation with the families – something the families later disputed.

Following the criticism, in January Attorney General Victoria Prentis asked the inspectorate to carry out a rapid and independent review of the case.

The results, published on Tuesday (March 25), say the CPS were right to accept the pleas.

The inspectorate said: “The inspection noted that the families felt unsupported and secondary to the whole process and HMCPSI has suggested greater clarity is needed about the role of victims in the criminal justice system.”

It said the CPS should now review all its guidance on engagement with victims by October – focusing on staff knowing when the terms ‘consult’ or ‘consultation’ are appropriate.

After the report was published, Barnaby Webber’s mother Emma said the families were “disappointed but not entirely surprised”.

“Until the law changes in this country the diminished responsibility charge and plea means murderers can get away with murder,” she said.

The report also called on the Government to consider changing the categorisation of homicide into three tiers – first degree murder, second degree murder and manslaughter. This has already been recommended by the Law Commission almost 20 years ago.

Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, were fatally stabbed in Ilkeston Road, before Mr Coates, 65, was found dead with knife injuries in Magdala Road.

Calocane, 32, then stole his van and drove it at pedestrians Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller in the city centre, with all three left with serious injuries.

Nottingham Crown Court later heard Calocane was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing. He admitted manslaughter and three counts of attempted murder on 28 November.

On 23 January, the CPS announced it had accepted the pleas, on the basis of diminished responsibility. Calocane was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order two days later.

The sentence is due to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal after the Attorney General ruled it was “unduly lenient”.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)