• Monday, July 22, 2024

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Families of Nottingham attack victims demand action on anniversary

The families said they have accepted an offer of support in their legal fight

Grace O’Malley Kumar (L) with her family.

By: Pramod Thomas

FAMILIES of Nottingham attack victims have demanded action and justice on the anniversary of the tragic event, actively pursuing a legal battle for answers and accountability, reported The Times.

Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and Ian Coates, 65, were fatally stabbed by Valdo Calocane, 32, on June 13 last year.

Friends and relatives gathered on Thursday (13) to lay flowers where the students were killed, near their university residence on Ilkeston Road.

In a joint statement, the families remembered their loved ones as “vibrant, caring, hard-working, and much loved.” They described the attack as “brutal, calculated, and unprovoked,” asserting that despite Calocane’s mental health issues, he knew what he was doing.

The Court of Appeal recently upheld Calocane’s indefinite hospital order, citing his severe psychotic episode during the attacks.

The families, however, question why Calocane did not receive immediate mental health assessment and treatment while in custody. They also expressed concerns about the police investigation, including the lack of toxicology tests to rule out drug use.

Nottinghamshire police stated Calocane had no history of drug abuse, but the families learned he had attended a barbecue with a known violent, cannabis-using individual two days before the stabbings.

Dr. Sanjoy Kumar, Grace’s father and a former forensic medical examiner, has sought police statements, psychiatric reports, and a transcript of Calocane’s interview, but these requests have been denied. Authorities cite ongoing independent inquiries into the decision-making and failings.

“Today is not the day for fight but tomorrow is. We continue in our dogged pursuit for appropriate justice, individual and organisational accountability and real lasting change to our society and laws that will provide more protection and public safety, appropriate punishment for crimes and proper support for victims and their families,” the victims’ families said in a statement.

“As three families we stand united by grief and loss, but fuelled by our anger at the scale of failings, poor policing, weak prosecution, dereliction of duty in medical care and a series of catastrophic missed opportunities that would and should have stopped these entirely preventable deaths.”

According to the report, the families have accepted legal support from Neil Hudgell of Hudgell Solicitors and Tim Moloney KC of Doughty Street Chambers.

They expressed their exhaustion from the past year’s struggle for answers and justice but resolved to lead the charge in exposing the failings of Leicester police, Nottingham police, and Nottingham mental health trust.

“We have had to face so much over the past 12 painful and agonising months in our fight for answers and justice and are utterly exhausted,” the families said.

“Up until this point we have been powerless and forced to be passive. It is time to take the lead, and with this support, to ensure our answers are met and failures of Leicester police, Nottingham police, Nottingham mental health trust, amongst others, are exposed. No stone will be left unturned as we will continue for however long this may take.”

Hudgell said, “It is our responsibility to ensure that we do everything we can to help these families establish the truth, effect change and find redress, putting all those agencies who played a part in these tragic events under the most powerful of spotlights.”

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