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Nottingham attacks: Mother criticises police over ‘butchered’ WhatsApp message

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Emma Webber, mother of Barnaby Webber, 19, a victim in the Nottingham attacks, expressed her dismay over a message shared in a police WhatsApp group describing her son as ‘properly butchered’.

Emma Webber penned an open letter to the Nottinghamshire police officer who posted graphic details of the victims’ injuries in the chat group.

An officer used a work chat group to reveal gruesome details of the injuries suffered by Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar. The language used by officers, who were on shift and responding to the aftermath of Calocane’s rampage, has not been previously revealed, reported The Times.

On Tuesday, Webber released an open letter to The Times as she thought it was the only way to address the officers. Within it, she conveyed that their actions had inflicted “more trauma than you can imagine” and implored them to display greater compassion and care towards future victims.

“My aim is not to cause undue shame, or to have anyone publicly vilified; there’s no need to add yet more pain; I just hope that by reaching out to educate and explain, my voice might make a difference,” she wrote.

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Valdo Calocane fatally stabbed Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and Ian Coates, 65, in Nottingham on 13 June, 2023, and attempted to kill three others.

Calocane, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, received an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter by diminished responsibility in January.

She stated, ‘When you say ‘a couple of students have been properly butchered’ did you stop to think about the absolute terror that they felt in the moment when they were ambushed and repeatedly stabbed by a man who had planned his attack and lay waiting in the shadows for them.’

Webber emphasised her respect for emergency services but urged reconsideration for anyone who could trivialize such a tragedy. Nottinghamshire police force is under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the College of Policing regarding its handling of the case, as reported by The Guardian.

“When you say ‘innards out and everything’ did you think about the agony they felt and the final thoughts that went through their minds as this vicious individual inflicted wounds so serious that they had no chance of surviving.

“Did you relate the excited urgency in your message of spreading ‘big news’ and preparing for a busy shift that countless lives had been destroyed for ever.”

Speaking directly to the author of the message, she said, “I pray you will read this and pause for a while. Dig a little deeper for compassion and care. Show the respect in the future that you did not afford Barney.

“My aim is not to cause undue shame, or to have anyone publicly vilified; there’s no need to add yet more pain; I just hope that by reaching out to educate and explain, my voice might make a difference.

A force investigation revealed that 11 staff members viewed material about the case without valid reasons, leading to disciplinary actions against three individuals and performance interventions for eight others.

‘If you feel able and wish to make contact know that you can and it will be kept fully private. I have written this open letter only because of the actions of your chief constable and her senior leadership team,’ Webber wrote, as reported by The Times.

On Friday (19 April), the victims’ families were told a sentence review hearing had been set for 8 May. Following the sentencing on 25 January, the victims’ families voiced their discontent outside Nottingham Crown Court, with Emma Webber expressing that true justice had not been served, leaving them feeling let down.

In February, Attorney General Victoria Prentis announced her decision to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal, citing it as “unduly lenient.”

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