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Nottingham attack: Bereft brother of Barnaby Webber comforted by family at emotional vigil

Yahoo News UK rounds up everything we know about the Nottingham victims and alleged attacker.

Barnaby Webber (left) was described by his family as a ‘beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to’. (PA)
Barnaby Webber (left) was described by his family as a ‘beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to’. (PA)

The devastated brother of one of the victims of the Nottingham attack was comforted by his family at an emotional vigil for the two university students killed at random.

Students Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school caretaker Ian Coates were killed in knife attacks in the city in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

As the two students' families sat next to each other, Barnaby's father, David Webber, could be seen hugging his distraught son, Charlie, who was earlier described in a family statement as being left "bereft" by the tragedy.

Speaking at the University of Nottingham event for the students on Wednesday afternoon, David Webber said: "I'm lost for words. I've lost my baby boy and I can’t even comprehend how I'm going to deal with it.

"I know Barney would be super touched by everyone being here. He loved it here. He couldn't wait to come back. It drove me mad but... his heart will be with you guys forever."

The family of Barnaby Webber, father David (left) and brother Charlie, embrace during a vigil at the University of Nottingham, after he and two others - Grace Kumar and Ian Coates - were killed and another three hurt in connected attacks on Tuesday morning. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2023. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
The family of Barnaby Webber, father David (left) and brother Charlie, embrace during a vigil at the University of Nottingham. (Getty Images)
The fathers of Grace and Barnaby gave an emotional tribute to their children. (PA)
The fathers of Grace and Barnaby gave an emotional tribute to their children. (PA)

Choking back tears, Grace's father Sanjoy Kumar added: "You know the love that we have out here, I just wish we had it everywhere. So look after each other, that's the big thing.

"Look after friends and look after people around you, that's so important. I think Grace and her friend they felt together you just, you just need to be friends with everyone and you need to love everyone and i wish we had more of it."

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Teammates of the two promising athletes laid flowers at the scene following a minute's silence, while friends, classmates, teachers and families also laid blossoms to commemorate the lives of the two 19-year-olds.

Members of the public take part in a vigil at the University of Nottingham after three people were killed and another three hurt in connected attacks on Tuesday morning. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2023. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
Grace's teammates comforted one another at the vigil for the slain students. (Getty Images)

Student Union representative Daisy Forster told the gathered crowd: "This is the last place that any of us wanted or expected to be.

"Barney and Grace are a monumental loss. They were first years with ambitions, potential and dreams.

"What was taken from us yesterday will never be given back and the shockwaves echo through our student community."

She acknowledged the support that students and staff at the university had given one another, also paying tribute to the third victim, Ian Coates.

The family of Barnaby Webber (left to right) brother Charlie Webber, mother Emma Webber and father David Webber, attend a vigil at the University of Nottingham after he and two others - Grace Kumar and Ian Coates - were killed and another three hurt in connected attacks on Tuesday morning. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2023. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)
The family of Barnaby Webber (left to right) brother Charlie Webber, mother Emma Webber and father David Webber, attend a vigil at the University of Nottingham. (Getty Images)

Speaking directly to the families of Barnaby and Grace, she added: "Please remember that you have 38,000 students standing behind you and as a university community we will always be there if you need us."

Three more people were injured in the attacks, as a suspect rammed into them with a van. One remains in a critical condition in hospital and two others suffered minor injuries.

The alleged attacked was tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder following the deadly rampage and remains in custody.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Yahoo News UK runs down what we know so far about the victims and the alleged attacker.

Barnaby Webber

Barnaby Webber was a talented sports player who loved cricket and rugby. (Facebook)
Barnaby Webber was a talented sports player who loved cricket and rugby. (Facebook)

Nottingham University student Barnaby Webber was confirmed to be one of the victims on Tuesday.

Studying history, the 19-year-old was a talented sports player who loved cricket and rugby and was thought to be walking home from a night out when he was attacked.

His parents, David and Emma, and younger brother Charlie, have described their "complete devastation" at what has happened.

In a statement, the family, from Taunton, Somerset, said: "Complete devastation is not enough to describe our pain and loss at the senseless murder of our son.

"Barnaby Philip John Webber was a beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to.

"A talented and passionate cricketer, who was over the moon to have made selection to his university cricket team.

"At 19 he was just at the start of his journey into adulthood and was developing into a wonderful young man.

"As parents we are enormously proud of everything he achieved and all the plans he had made.

"His brother is bereft beyond belief, and at this time we ask for privacy as a family to be allowed time to process and grieve."

Barnaby Webber (second left) with his father David Webber, mother Emma Webber and brother Charlie Webber (right). (PA)
Barnaby Webber (second left) with his father David Webber, mother Emma Webber and brother Charlie Webber (right). (PA)

Taunton School said the death of Mr Webber, who was a former pupil, is "utterly devastating".

They said he was "a much-loved, kind and engaging character".

In a short statement, Taunton-based Bishops Hull Cricket Club paid tribute to Mr Webber, who was one of its members, describing him as a "dear friend".

He was described as a "key part" of the club and the statement invited family and friends to lay flowers and pay their respects at the ground.

The statement added: "'Webbs' joined the club back in 2021 and has since then been a key part of our club and made such an impact in such a short space of time.

"Playing more than 30 games for the club, scoring 622 runs, and taking 29 wickets, his memory will live on."

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan also paid tribute, describing Mr Webber as a "young cricketer gone far too soon".

He had been a student at Taunton boarding school in Somerset before attending Nottingham University.

A former pupil of Taunton School posted a tribute in the Old Tauntonians alumni group on Facebook, describing him as a "wonderful young man with much to look forward to".

Grace O'Malley Kumar

Grace Kumar was a hockey player on the University of Nottingham first team. (Facebook)
Grace Kumar was a hockey player on the University of Nottingham first team. (Facebook)

Grace Kumar, also known as Grace O’Malley Kumar, was walking with Mr Webber at around 4am on Ilkeston Road, a student area of Nottingham, when she was also attacked.

Ms Kumar, 19, was a medical student and a hockey player on the University of Nottingham first team, according to Nottinghamshire Live.

Reports suggest she and Mr Webber met through their mutual interest in hockey.

Ms Kumar was a popular member of England hockey teams, the sport's governing body has said.

England Hockey tweeted: "We are all deeply saddened by the news of the tragic death of Grace Kumar in Nottingham on Tuesday.

"Grace was a popular member of the England U16 and U18 squads and our thoughts are with Grace's family, friends, teammates and the whole hockey community at this time."

Grace Kumar was a popular member of England hockey teams, the sport’s governing body said. (Facebook)
Grace Kumar was a popular member of England hockey teams, the sport’s governing body said. (Facebook)

Woodford Wells Cricket Club, in Essex, said Ms Kumar was "fun, friendly and brilliant".

"Devastated to hear the news about former Wells Baby Belles captain, Grace Kumar," the club tweeted.

"A fiercely competitive, talented and dedicated cricketer and hockey player."

Southgate Hockey Club in north London also paid tribute.

The club said on Twitter: "It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the death of Grace O'Malley Kumar, a huge talent and much loved member of Southgate U18s & W1s.

"We are shocked and devastated by the news, our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Grace's family, friends and teammates."

Grace Kumar
Grace Kumar was a member of Southgate Hockey Club. (PA)

Ms Kumar attended Bancroft's independent school in Woodford, Essex, before enrolling at Nottingham University.

Bancroft’s said it was "desperately shocked and saddened" by her death.

The school said in a statement on its website: "An immensely gifted and dedicated scholar and sportswoman, she was hugely loved and greatly respected and admired by all. She was outstanding in every respect and will be missed terribly."

According to reports, her father Dr Sanjoy Kumar is a GP who saved three teenage victims of a knife attack in 2009.

Ian Coates

Ian Coates (Huntingdon Academy/Reach)
Ian Coates was a caretaker at the Huntingdon Academy. (Huntingdon Academy/Reach)

The third victim of the Nottingham attack has been named as Ian Coates by his employer, the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust, which said he was a "beloved and respected member of the Huntingdon Academy staff".

Headteacher Ross Middleton said Mr Coates, who was aged in his 60s, was "a much-loved colleague who always went the extra mile for the benefit of our children and will be greatly missed".

Mr Coates's brother, Paul Coates, express his sadness at the news, writing on Twitter: "R.I.P Ian Coates, my brother. Ian had led a good life but Grace and Barnaby were just starting out."

Police forensics officers search a white van on the corner of Maples Street and Bentinck Road in Nottingham, as three people have been found dead in the city in what police described as a
Police forensics officers search a white van on the corner of Maples Street and Bentinck Road in Nottingham, following Tuesday‘s attacks. (Getty)

Paying tribute to his father Ian Coates, Lee Coates told reporters: "If we had to think about it, he'd be lying in a bed with us holding his hand, him dying naturally in 20 to 30 years' time."

"Not dying on a street because some guy decided it's not his day today," Lee’s brother James added.

Lee continued: "He was due to retire in four months, he was still grafting. It's rocked everyone’s world."

James added: "He was everyone’s friend, always willing to help.

"Nobody deserves this but he definitely didn’t. None of them did, it's a tragedy."

A former pupil at the secondary school where Mr Coates used to work described him as an "amazing man" whose kind words and encouragement paved the way for the life she now leads.

Kaleigh Wylie, 35, from Nottingham, said she attended the River Leen School in Bulwell, also known as the Bulwell Academy, in the early 2000s when Mr Coates was the caretaker.

"Ian helped pave my life from the age of 16 and I am where I am today for the kind words and encouragement from Ian," she said.

The suspect

EDITORS NOTE PICTURE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESK Police officers at an address on Ilkeston Road in Nottingham, as three people have been found dead in the city in what police described as a
Police officers at an address on Ilkeston Road in Nottingham following the arrest of a 31-year-old man. (Alamy)

Police have so far released no details on the suspect, other than it being a 31-year-old man who has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

He is alleged to have killed Mr Webber and Ms Kumar before killing Mr Coates and stealing his van and driving it at pedestrians.

The vehicle was stopped by officers in Maple Street before the suspect was tasered and detained.

The motive behind the attack has yet to be determined, but officers are keeping an "open mind" and working with counter-terror police, chief constable Kate Meynell said on Tuesday.

The suspect is said to be a West African migrant who was living in the country legally and not on the security services' radar, according to The Times.

Armed police walk along Milton Street in Nottingham, as three people have been found dead in the city in what police described as a
Armed police walk along Milton Street in Nottingham, following the attacks. (PA)

He is thought to have had a history of mental health problems.

The paper has reported that he does not have a criminal record and has been living in the UK as a resident since he was a teenager and had settled status – meaning he had permission to stay for several years.

The Telegraph has reported that the man is so far refusing to co-operate with police.

Meynell confirmed officers had carried out searches at a number of properties around the city – with cordons seen being put up on various sections of Ilkeston Road.

Police forensics officers work inside a cordon on Magdala Road in Nottingham, central England, following a 'major incident' in which three people were found dead. Police arrested a man Tuesday after three people were found dead and a van tried to mow down three others in the central English city of Nottingham in incidents authorities believe are linked. Nottingham's centre was cordoned off, with a heavy police presence, including some armed officers following the events that left residents shaken. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP) (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)
Police forensics officers work inside a cordon on Magdala Road in Nottingham. (Getty)

A terraced property on the road was under police guard, with staff at a neighbouring hairdresser saying it had been raided last year.

Shortly before 1pm on Tuesday, armed officers were seen a few hundred yards outside of the main cordon in Ilkeston Road, where they put two young women in the back of a marked police car.

On Wednesday, it emerged that police are examining CCTV from a residential care home 100 yards from where Mr Coates was found, appearing to show a man dressed in black trying to gain access to a bay window.

In the footage, a person inside the building is able to shoo the man away before closing the window.

Nottinghamshire Police said it was not contacted about the attempted break-in and had no calls about the suspect before the first stabbing.