Judges to rule on whether Nottingham killer’s sentence was ‘unduly lenient’

Three senior judges will rule on Tuesday on whether the sentence of triple killer Valdo Calocane is “unduly lenient”.

Calocane was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order in January after admitting the manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others, in a spate of attacks in Nottingham last year.

The Attorney General referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal in February, with lawyers arguing at a hearing on Wednesday that the 32-year-old should instead be given a “hybrid” life sentence, where he would first be treated for his paranoid schizophrenia before serving the remainder of his jail term in prison.

Valdo Calocane court case
Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar were killed by Valdo Calocane in Nottingham (Nottinghamshire Police/Family handout/PA)

The judges cannot examine or change the offences for which Calocane was sentenced and cannot look at any new evidence related to the case.

Instead, they can only assess whether the sentence was unduly lenient based on the evidence before the sentencing judge at the time.

Calocane was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court for the fatal stabbings of students Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and 65-year-old school caretaker Mr Coates in the early hours of June 13 last year.

After killing Mr Coates, Calocane stole his van and hit three pedestrians before being arrested.

Prosecutors later accepted his not guilty pleas to murder after medical evidence showed he had paranoid schizophrenia.

Lawyer Deanna Heer KC, representing the Attorney General’s Office, told the Court of Appeal on Wednesday that the “extreme” crimes warrant “the imposition of a sentence with a penal element, an element of punishment”.

Peter Joyce KC, for Calocane, said none of the offences would have been committed “but for the psychosis”, and imposing a hybrid order would mean he would be “punished for being mentally ill”.

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