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Judge faces ‘stark choice’ in Nottingham sentencing

The sentencing hearing for the man who carried out a stabbing attack in Nottingham last year, in which two university students and a school caretaker, were killed is under way.

Yesterday, prosecutors accepted Valdo Calocane’s pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to “serious” mental illness.

Calocane, who answered to the name Adam Mendes in court, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to the manslaughter of students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, in Nottingham on 13 June 2023.

The judge sentencing Calocane has a “stark choice” of imposing a “hybrid” life sentence with a hospital direction or a hospital order under the UK’s Mental Health Act, Nottingham Crown Court was told this morning.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC said Calocane, who is currently a patient at the Ashworth high security psychiatric hospital on Merseyside, had been assessed by three experts, who agreed that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia when he carried out his attack.

Grace O’Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates died in the stabbing attacks

Accepting that abnormality of mind contributed to Calocane committing the offences, Mr Khalil told Mr Justice Turner: “Although (Calocane’s) responsibility has been diminished it has not been extinguished.

“The intention of violence on his part appears to have subsisted for a considerable period of time. By the evening of the 12th of June at least, he had already formed the settled intention to kill.”

The second day of proceedings at Nottingham Crown Court started with a video statement from Mr Webber’s younger brother.

Charlie Webber said his brother was his “hero” and he was proud Barnaby “stood his ground” before his death.

He said: “When I was younger, he was always the person I went to if I was scared of something or had a tough decision to make.

“When I first learned what happened I wanted to set the world on fire, I was so angry at everyone.

“He was my hero. He didn’t just die a hero to the world, but he was a hero to me.

“On June 13 2023, you didn’t just take my brother from me and from those around me, but you also took a large part of me from myself.”

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