The mother of one of the Nottingham stabbing victims has said the families felt “wholly ignored” by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Ahead of a meeting on Friday with the Care Quality Commission and the CPS Inspectorate, Barnaby Webber’s mother Emma Webber said triple-killer Valdo Calocane’s guilty pleas to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility felt “railroaded”.
Calocane stabbed students Barnaby Webber, 19, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, with a dagger in Nottingham in the early hours of June 13 last year.
Last month, the killer was given a hospital order at his sentencing for manslaughter by diminished responsibility after Nottingham Crown Court heard he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Ms Webber told BBC Breakfast: “Being quite blunt, they (the CPS) have used the word ‘consulted’ both in court and in their press statements. That’s not consultation. Maybe they should look that up.
“But what we were given was a fait accompli, and we had a lot of concerns that were in the most part wholly ignored.”
Ms Webber said the families did not meet with the CPS and the police with regards to the plea until November 24, shortly before Calocane’s pre-trial hearing.
She added: “All of the summer we were led to believe by our police team that ‘it’s murder, it’s irrefutable, we’ve got him, he’s going down’.”
The Attorney General has ordered an independent review of the CPS’s handling of the case.
The inspection, announced by Victoria Prentis, will look into the CPS’s decision to accept Calocane’s guilty pleas to manslaughter and whether it sufficiently consulted with the victims’ families.
Grace O’Malley-Kumar’s father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, said having to continue to campaign for murder charges had made the “grief worse” and “saps energy”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “We as a family feel completely broken.
“After you’ve been through something horrendous like this, you should have the end result you wanted.
“You should be able to draw a line in the sand and you should be able to move on.
“The fact that we have to carry on with our fight – it saps energy, it makes the grief worse. And every time we do something like this, it circles back to the horrible events of June 13.
“It’s literally like peeling a scab off a wound every time – every meeting that we have to go to, everyone that we have to challenge. It’s absolutely awful and it’s very tough on our family.”
Last week, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had begun an investigation into the contact Leicestershire Police had with Calocane.
In a statement, the watchdog said it had launched an independent investigation after requesting further information from Leicestershire Police, following a referral from the force relating to inquiries into assaults Calocane is alleged to have committed in May last year.