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Newspaper poses tough questions in wake of triple killings

A daily newspaper has posed tough questions for the authorities after a triple killing on its patch.

Mentally-ill Valdo Calocane was ordered to be detained indefinitely after admitting the manslaughter of student Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar and school caretaker Ian Coates in Nottingham.

The Nottingham Post and companion website Nottinghamshire Live have since published a series of hard-hitting editorials and front pages on the case, calling for a public inquiry and asking why Calocane was left to roam the streets.

The Reach plc-owned titles have backed the victims’ families in demanding that authorities in the city are held to account for their failings.

On Thursday, the Post published a front page directly posing the question why Calocane had been left to roam the city’s streets.

The mother of Grace O’Malley-Kumar’s claimed police should have tracked down the killer earlier after he was wanted for assault.

In an editorial, senior editor Natalie Fahy wrote: “The families left dealing with the devastating consequences of Calocane’s actions have bravely stared him in the face throughout the entirety of this sentencing and – aside from their powerful impact statements – have maintained a dignified silence until the end of proceedings.

“That all changed when these families appeared on the steps of Nottingham Crown Court on Thursday afternoon, free of the shackles of criminal proceedings.

“Today they’ve called for answers and for justice to really be served. They say if jobs had been done properly, their lives would not have been shattered in the way they are.

“We stand with them and call for a public inquiry. Authorities and institutions in our city need to be held to account and their actions explained.

“While Calocane gets used to life inside high-security Ashworth Hospital, here on the outside there is a litany of questions that still need addressing.

“For Grace, for Barnaby, for Ian we need justice and answers now. It’s time those responsible stopped hiding and faced families and the public.”


Then on Friday the Post continued its campaigning stance with a second front page, headlined ‘Blood on Your Hands’ after the families accused the police, the NHS and the Crown Prosecution Service for allowing Calocane to ‘get away with murder.’

In a further editorial, Natalie set out a series of failings by the University of Nottingham, the police and the NHS in not monitoring Calocane more closely.

She said: “The timeline of Calocane’s contact with authorities up until the killing makes for grim reading.

“We’ve heard in court that Calocane was monitored by mental health services in Nottinghamshire in 2020 and 2021 – including the Nottingham City Crisis team and the Early Intervention in Psychosis team – but that there had been no contact whatsoever in the 12 months before the June 2023 attacks.

“Nottinghamshire Police have failed in this tragedy too. Officers had contact with Calocane on numerous occasions between 2020 and 2022, the most notable being when they broke into his flat with a warrant to section him in September 2021. On the way to Highbury Hospital, he assaulted a police officer.

“The case wasn’t listed at Nottingham Magistrates until a year later – a failing in itself – and Calocane did not show. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but by this point the killer had well and truly fallen out of the system.

“The warning signs were clear. This was a man showing dangerous, psychotic tendencies. He lied to mental health practitioners about his state of mind and whether he was taking his medication or not.

“Calocane was at large for nine months before he killed on our city’s streets, even managing to get himself a job at a warehouse in Kegworth in May 2023.

“Those who had a part in this have let the victims’ families and the city down and should hang their heads in shame. The missed opportunities, the people put at risk.

“Lessons must be learned from this tragedy otherwise we may find ourselves in this situation again. And next time it could be worse.”