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NHS trust where Nottingham triple killer was treated before stabbing spree put under review

A special review has been ordered into the NHS trust where triple killer Valdo Calocane was being treated for mental illness before he went on to stab three people to death in Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust will be subject to an investigation by the healthcare watchdog with findings to be delivered by March.

Calocane, 32, fatally attacked 19-year-old students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar before killing school caretaker Ian Coates, 65, last June.

Footage shows Valdo Calocane attempting to break into a secure accommodation house in Nottingham (PA)
Footage shows Valdo Calocane attempting to break into a secure accommodation house in Nottingham (PA)

He was handed a hospital order for manslaughter by diminished responsibility last week after a court heard he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Announcing the Care Quality Commission (CQC) review, Victoria Atkins, the health secretary, said: “My thoughts remain with the families and friends of Barnaby, Grace and Ian, who lost their lives in such a tragic, cruel and barbaric way.

“It is crucial that our mental health services ensure both the care of patients and the safety of the public.

“I hope the review provides the families and public with some much-needed answers, and that it helps the trust to improve the standard of mental health care in Nottinghamshire.”

The families of the victims have questioned the care he received before the killings, with Barnaby’s mother, Emma Webber, backing a public inquiry into any failings that may have occurred before he was released onto the streets with severe psychosis.

Left to right: Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar (AP)
Left to right: Ian Coates, Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar (AP)

He had been detained by mental health services four times and had been consistently unwilling to take antipsychotic medication, leaving him free to roam the streets untreated and unsupervised and hearing voices who he says ordered him to kill or his family would be hurt.

Ms Webber accused police of having “blood on their hands” after it emerged they had failed to arrest Calocane under the Mental Health Act, weeks before the knife attack, when he assaulted two warehouse workers. At the time he was on the run after allegedly assaulting a police officer in September 2021.

Highbury Hospital, where Calocane was admitted at one point, is the NHS hospital that The Independent revealed had suspended at least 30 staff due to “serious misconduct” including falsifying information and harming patients.

Valdo Calocane was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had been released from hospital four times (PA)
Valdo Calocane was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had been released from hospital four times (PA)

Investigations continue in light of those staff suspensions with an improvement plan under way, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The review comes just days after leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, had called for a public inquiry into the attacks.

The CQC will focus on wider issues in mental health care provision in Nottingham and will be required to present findings within weeks on patient and public safety as well as the quality of care provided across the trust, it said.

Health secretary Victoria Atkins announced the review (PA)
Health secretary Victoria Atkins announced the review (PA)

Rampton Hospital – one of three high security hospitals across the country and part of the trust – recently received an “inadequate” inspection rating from the watchdog. Its former patients include Charles Bronson and Ian Huntley.

The government has asked the regulator to assess the progress made by the hospital to improve standards since that inspection.

Director of mental health at the CQC, Chris Dzikiti, said: “We will conduct a rapid review into mental health services in Nottingham to understand whether there are any practical actions which can be taken to improve the quality of services and ensure people receive safe and effective care.

“We will begin this work immediately, aiming to report to the secretary of state before the end of March.”