Review ordered into decision to accept manslaughter pleas of British-Indian teen's killer

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Review ordered into decision to accept manslaughter pleas of
 British-Indian teen's killer

London, Jan 31 (IANS) An independent review has been ordered into prosecutors' decision to accept the manslaughter pleas of a 32-year-old attacker who stabbed an Indian-origin teen and two others to death in the UK last year.Valdo Calocane, a dual Guinea-Bissau/Portuguese national, killed 19-year-old students, Grace O'Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber, and 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates during an incident near Nottingham University on June 13, 2023.

Attorney General Victoria Prentis said she ordered an urgent review into the way the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) handled the case, the BBC reported.

Prentis asked His Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate to carry out the review, saying: "The senseless deaths of Barnaby Webber, Grace O'Malley-Kumar, and Ian Coates have horrified the country.

"While nothing will bring their loved ones back, the families understandably want to understand what happened in this case.

"That's why I have asked the inspectorate to carry out a prompt and thorough review of CPS actions."

A spokesperson for His Majesty's Chief Inspector of the CPS said they accept the request for the review, the findings of which are expected by Easter.

The move by Prentis comes less than a week after prosecutors, during a hearing at the Nottingham Crown Court, accepted Calocane's guilty plea based on diminished responsibility, which means he will not be tried for murder.

According to BBC, the CPS said psychiatrists provided "overwhelming" evidence the killer was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which resulted in him believing that the "MI6 was spying on him".

However, Webber's mother said the CPS had not consulted them, and said they had been "rushed, hastened and railroaded".

Calocane denied three counts of murder but admitted to three counts of manslaughter and three counts of attempted murder.

Following the attorney general's decision, the victims' families issued a joint statement, saying that they were "united as families in this national tragedy".

"We reiterate our deep and grave concerns in this case and our disappointment that we have had to resort to this additional level of trauma and stress to feel listened to and for further actions to be taken."

In addition to a full, open, and transparent investigation, the families also asked to be given an opportunity to discuss, in person, "the concerns and evidence of concerns that they have with the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) and the attorney general".

Calling for a public inquiry into the case, the families met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday who promised them that "we will get the answers".

In an interview with the ITV (LON: ITV ) News, Sunak said on Tuesday that a decision about whether a public inquiry "is the next logical step" will be made after all the agencies involved in the case have been independently investigated.

"Once we hear back from that, then we can sit down with them and decide if there are more questions that need answering," Sunak said at ITV's This Morning.

Meanwhile, in line with the Attorney General's announcement, Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins ordered on Monday a special review into Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, where Calocane was treated for paranoid schizophrenia.

Conducted by The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the review will be carried out alongside the Independent Mental Health Homicide Review ordered by NHS England to examine the case of Valdo Calocane.

--IANS

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