• Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Nottingham stabbings: Victims’ families seek answers on killer’s escape

The two 19-year-olds Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar were fatally stabbed on June 13 – Image Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

By: Pramod Thomas

FAMILIES of victims in Nottingham attacks want to know how the killer, Valdo Calocane, slipped through the net to kill three people last year.

Students Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, were stabbed to death on 13 June last year.

Now the families found themselves bound together by tragedy. Their paths converged amidst unimaginable sorrow as they gathered to mourn the loss of their beloved children, reported The Guardian.

“The two of them fell together and I think that’s driven us as families closer together. We’re both in exactly the same place with this – it’s a vortex of hell, it just doesn’t stop,” said Barnaby’s father David Webber was quoted as saying.

According to Sanjoy Kumar, Grace’s father, the support from other victims’ families is the one positive outcome to emerge from the tragedy.

“I ring David sometimes just out of the blue and cry down the phone. I don’t have to tell him what’s happened because we have this in common; he totally understands what I’m going through. I think our wives do, too,” he told the newspaper.

“It’s the one little green shoot that’s come out all of this, having the support of the other families. I don’t know how we would have done it alone.”

Coates’ son, James said that the families are “all part of an anniversary they never want to celebrate”.

The three families have united to campaign for change and justice for Grace, Barnaby, Ian, and the three people seriously injured when Calocane ran them over during his city rampage.

Their journey has been fraught with challenges, from navigating the legal intricacies of the case to grappling with the emotional toll of reliving the traumatic events.

Instead of being able to mourn their children in peace, Kumar and Webber find themselves immersed in a relentless cycle of advocacy, poring over evidence, and lobbying for reforms, the report said.

They believe that systemic failures led to the tragedy. From missed opportunities to intervene before the attacks to deficiencies in mental health services and law enforcement protocols, the families are determined to unearth the truth and enact meaningful change.

Dr. Kumar’s professional background lends a unique perspective to their battle for justice. As a physician, he is familiar with the intricacies of medical and police procedures, and he has been vocal in pointing out the shortcomings that allowed Calocane to slip through the cracks.

Central to their demands for reform is a call for greater accountability, particularly for psychiatrists responsible for discharging potentially dangerous patients into the community.

The families argue that stringent measures are needed to prevent such tragedies from recurring, emphasising the need for legal repercussions to incentivise more rigorous risk assessment and monitoring protocols.

Apart from their advocacy efforts, the families are channelling their grief into positive action.

The Barnaby Webber Foundation will help cricket clubs and support underprivileged kids.

The Grace O’Malley-Kumar Foundation, led by her brother James, will fund hockey clubs. They’ll also introduce “Grace groups” in schools and universities. These groups of three or four students will support each other throughout the year. This practice is already starting at sports clubs at Nottingham University.

A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire police said: “The families have raised a number of concerns and the appropriate way for these to be resolved is through the ongoing independent investigation by the IOPC as well as the review by the College of Policing.

“Commenting further could prejudice these investigations. We have written to the families of all of those affected by this horrific crime and offered to meet them.”

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