Sunak has not ruled out public inquiry into Nottingham attacks: Victims’ kin

They met the prime minister at Downing Street on Monday (29) evening

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

Pramod Thomas

FAMILIES of the victims of last June’s Nottingham attacks said prime minister has not ruled out a public inquiry into the incident after they met Rishi Sunak at Downing Street on Monday (29) evening.

Barnaby Webber’s father, whose son was fatally stabbed alongside Grace O’Malley Kumar, 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, said on Monday (29) they received assurance from Sunak.

“We did get an assurance from the prime minister himself that if it’s required, they’re not ruling out a public inquiry, and they will do a public inquiry,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Grace’s brother, James, asked for a comprehensive investigation into the attacks, stressing the importance of filling any gaps and ensuring accountability.

“We’re not in a rush. We’ve lost our loved ones now, we’ve lost Grace, we’ve lost Ian (Coates), we’ve lost Barnaby [Webber] – we want [an investigation into the attacks] to be as thorough as possible to make sure those gaps are filled and the relevant people have been held accountable,” he said.

“The prime minister said there are plenty of options that could be taken [including] the public inquiry.”

Grace O’Malley Kumar (R) with brother James.

A judge last Thursday (25) ordered that Valdo Calocane, 32, who killed Grace, Webber and Coates, in June last year that resulted in police locking down the entire city, should be detained indefinitely in a high-security hospital. He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Prosecutors last month accepted Calocane’s plea of guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Judge Mark Turner, handing down the sentence, said Calocane would “very probably” be detained in a high-security hospital for the rest of his life.

“Your sickening crimes both shocked the nation and wrecked the lives of your surviving victims and the families of them all,” he told the killer.

Grace’s brother, who started a charitable foundation in his sister’s honour, said he has been “struggling immensely”.

“I’m not coping well, I’ve lost my best friend, I’ve been lost since June 13 and I’m struggling immensely,” he has been quoted as saying.

On the possibility of a public inquiry, he said, “This is what I can do to make my sister proud, so I will do everything I can. That’s why I’m here today.”

Coates’s son James called for an investigation and said, “The goal is to achieve results not only for us, but for everyone affected, recognising the broader impact on numerous individuals.”

Earlier on Monday, the families also met Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at the party’s London headquarters.

Webber’s parents also expressed their desire to engage with Janine McKinney from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Webber’s mother Emma expressed her dismay at the prosecution barrister’s opening statements in court last week, stating she refused to accept anything other than the fact that her son was murdered.

After sentencing, Emma Webber said “true justice has not been served”, and claimed that prosecutors had “railroaded” families over accepting the manslaughter plea, rather than murder.

She added there were “no obvious” indications of psychosis from Calocane on the day of the attack and said she would be concerned about the potential release of the assailant if he responds positively to treatment in the hospital.

Calocane had previously been detained in hospital four times under mental health laws. He was arrested in September 2021 for assaulting a police officer.

The judge told the court that Calocane had been convinced he was being controlled by artificial intelligence and that flatmates and intelligence services were spying on him.

He even turned up to the headquarters of MI5 and urged “please arrest me”.

The court heard that he had not been taking his prescribed medication for his mental illness during the time he committed his crimes.