Brave student tried to fight off killer as he stabbed her friend, court told

A university student tried to fight off a killer as he was carrying out a “deliberate and merciless” attack on her friend while they walked home after an end-of-term night out, a court has heard.

Grace O’Malley-Kumar, 19, showed “incredible bravery” after Valdo Calocane, 32, pulled a dagger out of his bag and started repeatedly stabbing her friend Barnaby Webber in Ilkeston Road in Nottingham in the early hours of June 13 last year, Nottingham Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Trying to protect Barnaby, also 19, from the “brutal” attack just 200 metres away from where they were heading, Grace tried to fight off Calocane, pushing him away and into the road.

The killer then turned his attention to her and was “as uncompromisingly brutal in his assault of Grace as he was in his assault of Barnaby”, prosecutor Karim Khalil KC said.

Family members in the public gallery sobbed as Mr Khalil told the court Grace’s injuries were too severe and she collapsed as Barnaby tried to defend himself from the ground, kicking out at his attacker, before Calocane “calmly” walked away.

Barnaby Webber
Barnaby Webber also died in the attack (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

Mr Khalil said much of the attack was captured on CCTV footage from the dash-cam of a taxi which was parked overlooking the road, and also from a mobile telephone of a neighbour.

“That footage shows that the devastating violence of the attacks was mirrored only by the deliberate and merciless way the defendant acted,” Mr Khalil said.

Police and paramedics arrived at the scene within minutes but both Barnaby and Grace’s injuries were unsurvivable.

Post-mortem examinations showed they both suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen and had defensive stab wounds to their hands and arms.

Less than an hour after the attack, Calocane, whose last known address was in Burford Road in Nottingham, called his brother and told him: “This will be the last time I speak to you. Take the family out of the country.”

The court heard his brother asked him if he was going to do something stupid, to which he replied: “It is already done.”

Calocane then made his way from the scene of the initial double killing to a residential hostel in Mapperley Road, where he arrived at about 5am.

Valdo Calocane
Prosecutors have accepted Calocane’s pleas of not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness (Nottinghamshire Police/PA)

At 5.04am he sought to gain access to the premises through ground floor windows, but “retreated” after being confronted by an occupant who punched him in the face.

Ian Coates, 65, was driving a Vauxhall van in nearby Magdala Road and was repeatedly stabbed, suffering wounds to his abdomen and chest, at about 5.14am.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil KC told the court: “The defendant then took Ian Coates’ van, leaving him for dead.”

Mr Coates was discovered by members of the public shortly after 5.30am, found to be unresponsive and was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics and police arrived.

Calocane, who the court heard was suffering a “serious mental illness” at the time, is being sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court after his earlier guilty pleas to three counts of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility were accepted by prosecutors.

He also pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder after using the stolen van to run over three pedestrians.

The hearing continues.