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Review wants Nottingham stabbing case reclassified as homicide

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A REVIEW into the murder of three people in Nottingham last year has led to recommendations to amend the homicide law after the victims’ families criticised the sentencing of the perpetrator.

Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and Ian Coates, 65, were stabbed to death on 13 June.

Valdo Calocane was given a hospital order in January for manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.

Grace’s father, Dr Sanjoy Kumar, said: “I think the first question you have to ask is – can a paranoid schizophrenic commit murder in this country?

“Because it seems to me that you can’t, and that’s impossible for us to understand.”

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Webber’s mother Emma added: “Until the law changes in this country, the diminished responsibility charge and plea means murderers will get away with murder.

“We have never disputed Calocane’s mental health problem, but what I would say at the moment in this country if you commit murder and you have mental health issues, then it is very unlikely you are going to be tried for murder.

“And it is abhorrent it could be downgraded to manslaughter, just because it is how the law is stated.”

An independent review completed on Monday (25) by His Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) said the CPS had complied with the law and met their obligations to the families.

But the case also highlighted areas where the families could have been better supported during an “incredibly difficult process” after they said they had felt “unsupported and secondary” to the whole process.

It also recommended that the government consider whether homicide should be categorised into three tiers – first degree murder, second degree murder in cases of diminished responsibility, and manslaughter.

Under such a system, recommended by the Law Commission in 2006, the unlawful killings in this case would have been categorised as murder, albeit second degree murder, rather than manslaughter.

Stephen Parkinson, director of public prosecutions, said: “In tragic and complex circumstances such as these, the CPS has difficult decisions to make, but must always act with independence and professionalism.

“I believe that our team did so in this case, and with considerable dedication and commitment. I am grateful to the Inspectorate for the care and thoroughness with which they have reviewed our actions. We will carefully consider the report’s findings.”

Other investigations into the actions of the police and mental health staff in relation to the case remain ongoing.

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