‘No closure’ a year on from Nottingham attacks

‘No closure’ a year on from Nottingham attacks

Just nowBy Emily Anderson, Asha Patel, BBC News, Nottingham BBCIan Coates, 65, and 19-year-old students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber were killed in June 2023

A year since his father was stabbed to death by Valdo Calocane, Lee Coates says he is still bearing the trauma of that fateful day.

The 37-year-old has told the BBC his mental health was affected by the aftermath of the Nottingham attacks – which also claimed the lives of 19-year-old students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Weber.

The son says he is still coming to terms with losing his father Ian.

He and the families of the other victims have vowed to continue their “pursuit for justice” on a day where a number of events are planned across the city to mourn their loss.

“I was getting – I don’t know if you call it PTSD – but I’d close my eyes and all I could envision was what happened that night,” he said.

“You can’t help but let that run through your head and how your dad was left lying there.”

Lee Coates, Ian Coates’s youngest son, will attend an event in his dad’s memory on Thursday

The 37-year-old said he thought he could start “dealing with the grief” after Calocane’s trial but said he “didn’t get any closure”.

“I think after that, that’s where it started affecting me a lot more and I could see it really got to my mental health.”

Calocane was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The CPS said medical experts provided “overwhelming” evidence that he was suffering from a serious mental health condition at the time of the attacks.

His sentence was challenged by the victims’ families but judges ruled in May that it was not unduly lenient, after the attorney general referred it to the Court of Appeal for review.

Nottinghamshire PoliceCalocane had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia

Mr Coates’s youngest son said he had been “very, very angry” but is now in a better place, adding: “I never thought about my dad every day before. I definitely do think about him everyday now.

“So before I leave my apartment, there’s a picture of my dad and I kind of [tell myself] ‘I’m going to do you proud’, like he did me proud.”

On Thursday, Huntingdon Academy in St Ann’s, where Mr Coates worked as caretaker, is hosting a special day in his memory.

His son said: “He wouldn’t want his name on anything. He’s very quiet, he likes to be that background character, that just makes sure everyone else is alright.”

He added that the love he and his family had received from the city had helped “more than words ever could”.

“I think if my dad was looking down as well, he’d also have a little tear in his eye.”

PA MediaFootball shirts and flowers were laid at the scene in Magdala Road, where Ian Coates was stabbed to death

‘The clocks seemed to stop’

By Olimpia Zagnat, BBC Nottingham

The city centre had an eerie feel on 13 June last year, when I arrived to find the Victoria shopping centre completely blocked off by police cars and fire crews.

It was about seven o’clock in the morning and you could sense something very serious had happened.

For a moment it seemed like the clocks had stopped ticking – with no trams or buses running and rush hour traffic unable to get through.

Everyone who became stranded in the city centre left on foot, power-walking to work or school.

The shocking scenes in our city made national news before we even knew what was really going on – and then the more we learned about it, the worse it got.

Our shock and worry soon turned into grief, and thousands of us descended to Old Market Square to pay our tributes to Barnaby, Grace and Ian.

It’s a day we – all the people of Nottingham – will never forget.

ReutersForensic officers also responded to the scene

Marking a year on from the Nottingham attacks, the families will walk down Ilkeston Road, where Miss O’Malley-Kumar and Mr Webber were fatally stabbed, and lay flowers.

A ceremony will also be held at the University of Nottingham.

Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor at the university, said: “We came together as a community last year when this terrible event happened and I think it’s really important we come together again.

“I’m really proud of the way our university community did come together last year and I think we need to be able to remember our great students Barney and Grace one year on.”

Meanwhile, the families of the victims say they have accepted the support of legal experts as they await the outcomes of further investigations into the case.

PA MediaThe victims’ families spoke outside Royal Courts of Justice in London after the sentence review hearing in May

After a review into how the CPS handled the case, the victims’ families called for changes to homicide laws, and have maintained the case was poorly handled.

In a statement released on Thursday, the families said the anniversary was “not the day for a fight”, but vowed to continue going forward.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating Nottinghamshire Police and Leicestershire Police in relation to their separate involvement with Calocane.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is due to publish a further report into inpatient mental health services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust this summer.

PA MediaThousands gathered in Old Market Square last year to pay their respects to the Nottingham attacks victims

In a joint statement on Thursday, the families of the victims said: “Today we will take time and pause to reflect upon that tragic day and remember the souls of the three vibrant, caring, hard-working and much loved family members who are no longer here.

“Today is not the day for fight. But tomorrow (14 June) is.

“We continue in our dogged pursuit for appropriate justice, individual and organisational accountability and real lasting change to our society and laws that will provide more protection and public safety, appropriate punishment for crimes and proper support for victims and their families.”

While recognising Calocane’s mental illness diagnosis, the families said “he knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway”.

They added: “No stone will be left unturned as we will continue for however long this may take.”

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