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City website publishes details from ‘non-disclosure’ briefing

A city website has decided to disclose details of what was said at a supposedly ‘non-disclosure’ police briefing on the grounds that it is in the public interest.

As previously reported on HTFP, the Nottingham Post and sister website Nottinghamshire Live say they were asked to sign an non-disclosure agreement before being admitted to a briefing with the county’s chief constable last week.

Nottinghamshire Police have have flatly denied the claim, but irrespective of whether there was such an agreement, the Reach plc title has decided to publish details from the briefing anyway.

Editor Natalie Fahy said it was in the public interest to report details from the briefing, which concerned police contact with triple killer Valdo Calocane before he stabbed three people to death in the city last year.

Calocane was convicted of manslaughter last month for killings of students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley Kumar and school caretaker Ian Coates last summer.

Since then, it has emerged that a warrant had been issued for Calocane’s arrest in September 2022 – nine months before the killings – after he assaulted a police officer, but he was never tracked down.

Nottinghamshire Live is now reporting that it emerged at the briefing that in April 2022 and again in July 2022, one of Calocane’s former flatmates reported being stalked by him with this incident officially reported and logged as stalking by police.

Natalie set out the justification for the decision to publish in an editorial jointly penned by herself and senior reporter Joshua Hartley.

It read: “Nottinghamshire Live has taken the decision that it is in the public interest to report details from a non-disclosure briefing with police on details regarding their contact with triple killer Valdo Calocane before he stabbed three people to death on our city’s streets in June last year.

“Journalists from Nottinghamshire Live, and various other media outlets covering the horrific attacks on June 13 2023, were invited to a ‘non-disclosure’ briefing with Nottinghamshire Police at 12.30pm on Thursday, February 22.

“The call related to the ongoing investigation into the deaths of students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley Kumar, both 19, as well as school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, who were all brutally stabbed to death on Nottingham’s streets by psychotic killer Valdo Calocane.

“Before reporters were allowed into the call to hear from Chief Constable Kate Meynell they were made to commit – in writing – to not revealing anything said in the briefing, an unprecedented step in our view to limit coverage of details which are very much in the public interest.

“Nottinghamshire Live cannot recall a time when this tactic was used with our reporting team, although Nottinghamshire Police insists it is standard practice and part of Authorised Professional Practice for Policing.

“In the briefing, it was said that on April 26, 2022, one of Calocane’s former flatmates reported being stalked by him after seeing him in the gym.

“In July 2022 the same person reported being stalked again by Calocane, with this incident officially reported and logged as stalking by police. This came after the alleged stalking victim had been to the same gym and said he was followed home by Calocane.

“It is understood the victim did not want further action to be taken in both cases and police were not able to locate paranoid schizophrenic Calocane. It has previously been reported that he had been involved in a fight with a flatmate in early 2022, but it is not clear whether this was the same person.

“Since University of Nottingham students Barnaby and Grace and school caretaker Ian were stabbed to death, the public has learned of the force’s nine-month failure to catch spree-killer Calocane before his vile crimes, and that a former officer had chosen to watch footage of fatally injured students Barnaby and Grace.

“The victims’ families have consistently criticised the investigation and conduct of Nottinghamshire Police, with Mr Webber’s mum, Emma, stating Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin had “blood on [his] hands” for failing to capture Calocane after he assaulted a police officer in September 2022. A warrant was issued for his arrest but he was never tracked down.

“Nottinghamshire Police has claimed it cannot publicly disclose the information given out in the briefing as it could prejudice current Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigations into their contact with killer Valdo Calocane – despite it being information the policing watchdog should already be aware of.

“We have decided to publish the aspects we believe the families and the public should know, including information that reveals Nottinghamshire Police have had more contact with Calocane than they have previously spoken about publicly.

“We feel it is important the public know the background to police’s contact with Calocane, and that he was known to them in relation to other incidents not yet made public before stabbing three people to death. The information will raise important questions about whether the police could or should have done more to monitor him.

“It is important that police learn lessons from their contact with Calocane, and are honest with the public about what they knew of him.”

Nottinghamshire Police declined to comment further when approached by HTFP.

It has previously stated that at no point was the Nottingham Post / Nottinghamshire Live or any other media asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.