Mother rebukes Nottingham police officers who described stabbing victims as ‘properly butchered’

Grace O'Malley-Kumar
Grace O'Malley-Kumar was murdered by Valdo Calocane in June 2023 - Enterprise News

Nottinghamshire Police officers shared WhatsApp messages describing how two university students who were stabbed to death after a night out were “proper butchered”.

Grace O’Malley Kumar and Barnaby Webber, both 19, were killed by paranoid schizophrenic Valdo Calocane in the early hours of June 13 2023.

Their grieving relatives have now shared details of “barbaric” messages sent by officers in the aftermath of their deaths.

Emma Webber, Barnaby’s mother, said she had decided to release the details of the messages because the force’s Chief Constable Kate Meynell, whose son was on the WhatsApp group, refused to pass a private letter to its members explaining the impact of their words.

Barnaby Webber
Barnaby Webber. His mother Emily Webber told of her distress in a letter to a newspaper - Nottinghamshire Police/PA

Dr Sanjoy Kumar, Grace’s father, told The Telegraph that the messages “were as barbaric as the crime itself”.

He added: “I’m appalled and disgusted at the message. I had to ask Kate Meynell for the entirety of the message myself by email.

“I had also asked how many officers were in the WhatsApp group. This remained unanswered.

“The message is so disgusting and shows there is no humanity left. Would anyone with a child, a mother, a relative use words like that.

“Why have police in Nottingham forgotten that these are our dear and beloved children they are referring to?

“I have tears in my eyes every time the message echoes in my head.

“The message is as barbaric as the crime for me. I’m so, so disappointed by Nottinghamshire Police.”

Mrs Webber provided an open letter she sent to the force to the Times, in which she explains how the messages affected the families.

She wrote: “I know you are police officers, but you are also human beings, and very likely that a number of you are parents as well.

“When you say ‘a couple of students have been proper butchered’ did you stop to think about the absolute terror that they felt in the moment when they were ambushed and repeatedly stabbed?

“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?”

Launched multiple misconduct cases

Mrs Webber told the newspaper that earlier in April another staff member was sacked after using police systems to look up details about Calocane.

The hearing was held behind closed doors.

The staff member accessed evidence and information about other homicide cases in 2023 and also searched for cases linked to her own family.

She was sacked and barred from policing after a hearing on April 5.

The force has launched multiple misconduct cases against officers related to the case.

An investigation it carried out found that 11 members of staff had viewed material relating to the case who did not have a legitimate reason to do so.

A sculpture made of more than 100,000 knives
A sculpture made of more than 100,000 knives to raise awareness of knife crime on display in Barnaby Webber's home town of Taunton, Somerset - Apex

Calocane, 32, who was wanted by police at the time of the attack, also killed Ian Coates, 65, a caretaker during the knife rampage.

Calocane was originally charged with murder but this was downgraded to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility because of his paranoid schizophrenia.

In January, he was given an indefinite hospital order at Nottingham Crown Court.

The families of the victims have repeatedly criticised the decision not to pursue the murder charge and in May the Court of Appeal will review whether the hospital order given to Calocane was unduly lenient.

Used police systems

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: “A member of police staff has been dismissed following a gross misconduct hearing on April 5 for the misuse of force systems and breaching data protection by accessing information relating to recent homicide investigations.

“The investigation showed that the police staff member used police systems to research the offender, Valdo Calocane.

“There was no evidence that she viewed body-worn video or CCTV in relation to the case.

“All hearings relating to police staff misconduct are held in private.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further due to the ongoing independent investigation by the IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct] and the review by the College of Policing,” he added.