Judge orders Nottingham killer to be detained in hospital

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A man who killed three people in a stabbing and van attack in the central English city of Nottingham in June last year should be detained indefinitely in a high-security hospital, a judge ordered on Thursday.

Valdo Calocane, 32, who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, stabbed two 19-year-old university students, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and 65-year-old Ian Coates, before driving into three other people with a van.

Calocane had a history of serious mental health issues, including being sectioned on four separate occasions, and believed there were voices in his head telling him to act in the way he did, the Crown Prosecution Service said, describing the attacks as “brutal,” “savage,” and “ferocious.”

He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility as well as attempted murder, and prosecutors said there was no realistic prospect of a murder conviction given the psychiatric assessments.

“None of the evidence relating to your mental state detracts from the horror of your actions or the disastrous impact that they’ve had upon so many people,” Judge Mark Turner said in his sentencing remarks.

“Regardless of the level of your personal responsibility, you were, and remain, dangerous.”

Calocane will be treated at a high-security hospital until it is assessed that he no longer poses a risk to the public, although Turner said he would likely be detained for the rest of his life.

The victims’ families criticised both the sentencing and the missed opportunities to prevent the murders.

“This man is a killer; murder was the only thing he cared about,” Coates’ son James said outside court.

“The NHS (National Health Service) mental health trusts have to be held accountable for their failures, along with the police… This man has made a mockery of the system, and he has gotten away with murder.”