As students Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Barnaby Webber walked home from an end-of-year night out, they were captured on CCTV chatting and laughing.
Moments later, with their accommodation in sight, the 19-year-olds were set upon by a knifeman who had been lying in wait, and was determined to kill.
At Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday, as the details of the killings were laid out in full for the first time, sobs and gasps of anguish were heard.
The mothers of the young victims stared in silence at Valdo Calocane, the “monster” who changed their lives in the early hours of June 13 last year, for most of the hearing.
That was until the prosecutor, opening the case against Calocane, began going through, step by step, the graphic details of their children’s deaths.
Calocane travelled to Nottingham late on the evening of June 12 from London, armed with a number of knives and a “double-edged fighting dagger”.
He spent hours wandering the streets before disappearing into the shadows near to Ilkeston Road, where he lay in wait for a victim to walk past.
Shortly after 4am, Ms O’Malley-Kumar and Mr Webber walked past his hiding place as they made their way back after a night at Pryzm, a club popular with Nottingham students.
The pair were just 200 metres from home when witnesses in nearby houses described hearing a “blood-curdling scream” and Ms O’Malley-Kumar shouting: “Why would you do that?”
‘Deliberate and merciless’
The attack was caught on the dashcam of a taxi parked nearby and by a neighbour who filmed the events on her phone, Karim Khalil KC, prosecuting, told the court.
As Mr Khalil began to describe the “brutality” of the attack, the mothers of both young victims began sobbing loudly and closed their eyes.
Mr Khalil, after pausing a moment, continued: “The footage shows that the devastating violence of the attacks was mirrored only by the deliberate and merciless way [Calocane] acted.”
Calocane attacked Mr Webber from behind first, “inflicting grave injuries which caused him to fall to the floor”, the prosecutor said.
“Grace, demonstrating incredible bravery, sought to protect her friend and fight off the killer, pushing him away and into the road.
“[Calocane] quickly turned his attention to her, and the two fought for over 30 seconds, during which time [he] stabbed her repeatedly.”
After attacking her, Calocane returned to his first victim, who was lying on the floor. Calocane continued to stab Mr Webber.
“Grace, again, tried to walk towards them, but her injuries were too severe, and she collapsed,” Mr Khalil said.
After the killings, Calocane was seen walking away calmly towards the city centre in search of more victims.
Teenagers died of multiple stab wounds
As the findings from the post-mortem examinations of the students were read out, a number of family members, including Sinead O’Malley and Emma Webber, left the courtroom.
Both teenagers died of multiple stab wounds to the chest and abdomen.
James O’Malley-Kumar said yesterday that his older sister’s “last moments were in pain”.
“That is something that really hurts me to think about,” he told Sky News. “She was a hero, that was her character.
“Ultimately, I think it is very important that people hear that she tried her best to save her friend, as a 19-year-old girl.”
Following the attack on the students, Calocane then made his way to a residential hostel in Mapperley Road, where he arrived at about 5am.
He tried to get in through ground floor windows, but was forced to “retreat” after being confronted by an occupant who punched him in the face. He later told psychiatrists he had been looking for more people to kill.
Ian Coates, a school caretaker, was driving his white Vauxhall van to work on nearby Magdala Road when he was stopped by Calocane who attacked him, stabbed him repeatedly and drove off in his vehicle to hunt more victims.
Witnesses again described hearing “blood-curdling screaming” as Calocane took the life of his third victim.
Mr Coates’s son, Lee, left the court as some of the more graphic details were heard.
As he walked past the glass-panelled dock, he stared at Calocane and swore at him before being ushered out.
After killing Mr Coates, the court heard, Calocane drove the van on to Woodborough Road, towards the city centre, and at 5.23am was driving south on Milton Street.
Wayne Birkett was crossing the road on foot when Calocane “deliberately and violently” swerved towards him causing him to “flip” on to the pavement.
Mr Birkett suffered a fractured skull, causing a bleed to his brain, and was said to be extremely fortunate to survive.
Calocane then drove in a loop and was seen by a marked police car at about 5.29am.
‘The love of our life has gone’
Officers activated their lights but Calocane accelerated away and then knocked down Sharon Miller and Marcin Gawronski, who were walking to work across a pedestrian central reservation.
Calocane was arrested after being tasered around five minutes after the final victims were injured, after producing a knife when the van was stopped and boxed in by police vehicles.
Dr Sanjoy Kumar said his thoughts towards his daughter’s killer were “not kind”.
“She filled the house with sound and music, the house is very quiet,” he told Sky News.
“The love of our life has been taken away from us.
“Music from our ears has been taken away, our landscape has turned from vivid colour to black and white.”
The families are expected to return to court on Wednesday as the sentencing continues.