THE families of three people stabbed to death in the Nottingham attacks have issued a statement marking the first anniversary of the killings, vowing to continue their battle for new laws to improve public protection.

In a joint statement, relatives of university students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and school caretaker Ian Coates, said they would take time on Thursday to remember “the souls of the three vibrant, caring, hard-working and much loved family members who are no longer here”.

The statement also reiterated the families’ belief that Valdo Calocane should have been tried for murder, rather than being given an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter and three attempted murders.

Calocane, 32, fatally stabbed 19-year-old University of Nottingham students Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar as they walked home in the early hours of June 13 last year, before killing 65-year-old Mr Coates and stealing his van.

He then used the vehicle to knock down three pedestrians – Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller – in Nottingham city centre, before being arrested.

Prosecutors accepted his not guilty pleas to murder at his sentencing at Nottingham Crown Court in January, after multiple psychiatrists concluded he had paranoid schizophrenia.

In their statement, relatives of those killed restated that they believed Calocane is a murderer, saying over-reliance on medical experts’ opinions and “archaic” diminished responsibility laws meant the killer was not punished for his “heinous” acts.

The family members said: “On the 13th June 2023 our lives changed forever.

“The brutal, calculated and unprovoked attack by Valdo Calocane took the lives of three innocent, decent and kind human beings: Barney Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates. Three people who made a difference to this world and actively contributed to our society.

“This individual carefully planned his assault, stockpiled his weapons in advance and chose his victims.

“He knew what he was doing, he knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway. And therefore, he is a murderer.

“It is because of a weak investigation and prosecution, over reliance upon doctors’ evidence and archaic out-of-date laws that Calocane receives no punishment for his heinous acts.”

They added: “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 is. We continue in our relentless pursuit for appropriate justice, individual and organisational accountability, lasting change to our society and laws that will provide improved protection and public safety, appropriate punishment for crimes and improved support for victims and their families.

“As three families we stand united by grief and loss, but fuelled by our anger at the scale of failings, poor policing, weak prosecution, dereliction of duty in medical care and a series of catastrophic missed opportunities that would, and should have stopped these entirely preventable deaths.”

The bereaved relatives also said they have accepted the offer of support from Neil Hudgell, of Manchester-based Hudgell Solicitors, and Tim Moloney KC, of Doughty Street Chambers, and their legal teams.

The families’ statement continued: “We have endured much over the past 12 painful and agonising months in our fight for answers and justice.

“Up until this point we have worked tirelessly as families and now with our legal representatives, we will take our fight for accountability to the next level.

“With this support we will ensure the failures of Leicester Police, Nottingham Police and Nottingham Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – amongst others – are exposed and accounted for.

“No stone will be left unturned as we continue on our quest for answers, for however long this may take.”

Their solicitor, Neil Hudgell, said: “A catalogue of catastrophic errors across multiple agencies led to the loss of three wonderful lives.

“Three heartbroken families seek answers, accountability and ultimately reassurance that Calocane never walks the streets again to wreak such devastation.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that we do everything we can to help these families establish the truth, effect change and find redress, putting all those agencies who played a part in these tragic events under the most powerful of spotlights.”

The Court of Appeal ruled last month that the sentence passed on Calocane, of Burford Road, Nottingham, was not unduly lenient.

The families of the victims responded to the ruling by repeating calls for a public inquiry into the attacks, which occurred between 4am and 5.30am at four separate crime scenes.

Speaking following the ruling, Mr Webber’s mother, Emma Webber, said: “Despite the fact that the Attorney General herself feels that Valdo Calocane did not receive the appropriate sentence, today’s outcome proves how utterly flawed and under-resourced the criminal justice system in the UK is.

“The fact remains, despite the words of the judge, that almost 90% of people serving hospital orders are out within 10 years and 98% within 20 years.

“In effect, the families now face their own life sentence of ensuring the monster that is Valdo Calocane becomes the next Ian Brady or Fred West and is never released.”

The judge who sentenced Calocane said that his “sickening crimes” meant he would be detained in a high-security hospital “very probably for the rest of your life”.

In their subsequent ruling, judges sitting at the Court of Appeal said: “Because the offender’s level of retained responsibility was low, and in circumstances where the offending would not have taken place but for the offender’s schizophrenia, the judge was entitled to conclude that a penal element (to the sentence) was unnecessary.

“This was so, despite the number of victims and the extent of the harm caused.”

Additional reporting by Matthew Cooper, PA.