• Saturday, April 13, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Government appeals against Nottingham killer’s ‘unduly lenient’ sentence

Grace O’Malley-Kumar hailed from Woodford, London, where she was a medical student and a dedicated hockey player – Image Credit: Twitter:@SouthgateHC

By: Pramod Thomas

THE government approached the Court of Appeal over the “unduly lenient” sentence imposed on a 32-year-old man guilty of killing a British Indian teenage student, her friend and a school caretaker in Nottingham last year.

Valdo Calocane was sentenced to a mental health order to be detained in a high-security hospital following a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court over the stabbing spree in the central England city in June 2023.

Grace O’Malley Kumar, 19, was a medical student who was returning to her university with Barnaby Webber when accosted by Calocane, who then went on to murder Ian Coates nearby.

“Valdo Calocane’s crimes were horrific and have shocked a nation. He brutally killed three innocent people, and violently attacked three other victims. Their experiences will stay in our minds for a long time to come,” UK attorney general Victoria Prentis said in a statement on Tuesday (20).

“This was a case that evoked strong feelings amongst so many people and it was no surprise that I received so many referrals under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to consider the hospital order handed to Calocane. My duty as a law officer in considering whether sentences may be unduly lenient is to act independently of government, even when it is not easy or popular.

“Having received detailed legal advice and considered the issues raised very carefully, I have concluded that the sentence imposed against Calocane, for the offences of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility and attempted murder, was unduly lenient and will be referred to the Court of Appeal,” she said.

Grace O’Malley-Kumar (L) with her family

The minister added that her thoughts remain with Calocane’s victims, as well as their families and friends, who have shown such “immeasurable strength during this devastating time”.

Calocane was sentenced on January 25 to a Hospital Order with a Restriction Order under Sections 37 and 41 of the UK Mental Health Act 1983.

The attorney general’s office said the case received numerous ‘unduly lenient’ sentence referrals from the public on the day of sentencing itself which led to the government’s law officers reviewing the sentence that Calocane was convicted on, which was manslaughter by diminished responsibility and attempted murder offences.

The case will now be lodged with the Court of Appeal this week.

The Court of Appeal is the final arbiter on whether the sentence should be amended or not. The court may decide to keep the sentence the same, increase it, or refuse the application.

Under the unduly lenient sentence scheme, England’s law officers are only able to consider the sentences for the offences of which Calocane was convicted. They are not able to consider whether he should have been charged with different offences or whether it was right to accept pleas to offences.

Meanwhile, an independent inspection will be undertaken of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) actions in this case.

Grace, a medical student and cricket lover, was the daughter of London-based doctors Sanjoy Kumar and Sinead O’Malley. She was walking back to her university in Nottingham with Webber when they were attacked and stabbed to death.

Coates was killed nearby and his van was used for a number of attempted murder incidents on the day.

The incident sent shockwaves across the country and thousands attended vigils at the university and Market Square in Nottingham in memory of the victims in the wake of the attack.

(PTI)

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