PM ‘very sympathetic’ to the concerns of Nottingham attack victims’ families

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he is “very sympathetic” to the concerns of the families of the Nottingham attack victims, but said ongoing investigations need to play out.

Mr Sunak was asked about the future of under-pressure senior officers at Nottinghamshire Police and whether there should be a public inquiry into all the circumstances around the killings of university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, as well as school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, in June last year.

Mr Sunak told reporters: “I’ve met with Grace and Barnaby and Ian’s families relatively recently in Downing Street and I’ve spoken to them previously.

“It just an absolutely shocking tragedy that, I think, really shocked all of us.

“I spoke to them about their concerns in some detail and we are in the process of addressing all of them – whether it’s mental health support, what’s happening with the police, the sentencing, all of those things are being acted on.”

Valdo Calocane court case
Nottingham triple killer Valdo Calocane (Nottinghamshire Police)

Other investigations into the actions of mental health staff also continue.

He said: “I’m very sympathetic to what they’ve been through and what they’re asking for, which is why we’re taking action in all those areas and need to just let the processes play out properly. That’s the right thing to do.”

Calocane was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order earlier this year after admitting manslaughter by diminished responsibility and pleading guilty to the attempted murder of three people who were hit by a van stolen from Mr Coates.

This was after Nottingham Crown Court heard he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

But there was an outcry of anger from the victims’ families after prosecutors decided not to pursue murder charges for Calocane, prompting Attorney General Victoria Prentis to order a review of how the Crown Prosecution Service handled the case and ask the Court of Appeal to review the sentence.

The families of the victims have criticised Nottinghamshire Police for what they have described as “serious concerns and ongoing mismanagement” and called for a public inquiry.

The force has referred itself to the IOPC over its handling of disciplinary procedures relating to officers viewing material relating to the case who did not have a legitimate reason to do so.

Earlier this month, Nottinghamshire Police was told to “urgently produce an improvement plan” by a watchdog after being put into special measures.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) said the force “needs to improve how it manages and carries out effective investigations, and make sure that victims get the support they need”.

But an HMICFRS spokeswoman said this decision was not related to the force’s handling of the Calocane case.

Downing Street has previously said the Government had not ruled out launching a public inquiry to consider claims of missed opportunities to stop Calocane before the killings amid calls for a wider investigation.

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