Valdo Calocane: Prosecutors correct to accept Nottingham killer’s manslaughter pleas, report finds

Valdo Calocane: Prosecutors correct to accept Nottingham killer's manslaughter pleas, report finds

Prosecutors were correct to accept Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane’s manslaughter by diminished responsibility pleas rather than pursue a murder case, the CPS inspectorate has found.

Calocane, 32, stabbed to death students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates in June last year.

The attorney general ordered an urgent review into the CPS’s handling of the case after families of the three victims said they were bitterly disappointed that a murder case was not pursued by prosecutors.

They also felt they had not been properly informed about the decision before it was made.

(L-R) Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar

His Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) said in their report published today that the CPS were correct to accept Calocane’s manslaughter by diminished responsibility pleas and that a good service was provided to families.

However, the report said there was room for improvement, recommending that the CPS in future provide written guidance to help police family liaison officers explain legal concepts to bereaved families.

They also suggested that the use of the word “consult” when referring to engagement with the families around the legal decision-making in this case may have contributed to a general misunderstanding of the CPS’s obligations to bereaved families.

This is because there is no obligation for the CPS to “consult” victims when making a decision on the evidential test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, but rather to “inform” and “explain” their decision.

Pic: Nottinghamshire Police/PA
Screen grab taken from CCTV dated 13/06/23 and time stamped at 04.13am issued by Nottinghamshire Police of Valdo Calocane walking along Radford Boulevard, Nottingham. Valdo Calocane, who stabbed three people to death in Nottingham city centre and attacked three others, has been sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to a hospital order after admitting manslaughter by diminished responsibility and attempted murder. Issue date: Thursday January 25, 2024.
Valdo Calocane walking along Radford Boulevard, Nottingham, prior to the attack. Pic: Nottinghamshire Police/PA

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The report said: “It is understandable why the bereaved families find the decision by the CPS to accept the pleas of not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter difficult to accept.

“Their loved ones were violently killed by an offender who knew what he was doing was wrong and who intended to kill them.

“The term manslaughter has the perception to underplay the gravity of what has taken place.”

In response to the report, Stephen Parkinson, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “In tragic and complex circumstances such as these, the CPS has difficult decisions to make, but must always act with independence and professionalism.

“I believe that our team did so in this case, and with considerable dedication and commitment.

“I am grateful to the Inspectorate for the care and thoroughness with which they have reviewed our actions. We will carefully consider the report’s findings.”