A man who witnessed Valdo Calocane stab two students to death said he still has nightmares about the attack, as an investigation has been launched into Nottinghamshire Police’s contact with the killer.
The witness called emergency services after being woken by the sound of 19-year-old Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar’s screams and saw the horror unfold from a window in his home.
Richard, who chose not to use his real name, told the BBC he heard “blood-curdling screams”, adding that he “knew someone was in trouble”.
He said: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was absolutely terrifying. Seeing two young people being attacked and stabbed will never leave me.
“It’s something I wish I’d never seen and I wish the situation had never happened. I have been having nightmares since.”
Nottinghamshire Police’s contact with Calocane before he killed the students and caretaker Ian Coates, 65, in a knife rampage is being investigated by the independent watchdog.
At the time of the attack, a warrant was out for Calocane’s arrest after he assaulted a police officer in the city in 2021.
The victim’s families have also repeatedly raised concerns about the lack of toxicology tests carried out on the 32-year-old in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
An IOPC spokesman said that the investigation followed a voluntary referral by the force after it received complaints from the grieving relatives.
It added: “The complaints allege there were flaws in the handling of the murder investigation and missed opportunities by police to prevent the deaths.
“Allegations have also been made in respect of the non-execution of an outstanding warrant for Calocane’s arrest prior to the killings, and concerns raised about Nottinghamshire Police’s communication with the families.”
The IOPC previously announced it had launched an investigation into Leicestershire Police concerning its contact with Calocane.
Six weeks before the killings, officers from the force were called after Calocane assaulted two security guards at a warehouse where he was working. The business reported the incident the same day and Leicestershire Police attended but Calocane was no longer there.
Last week The Telegraph revealed that Calocane had travelled to London on June 11, and attended a barbecue with a violent, cannabis-using gang member.
He boarded a train back to Nottingham the next day, dressed all in black and armed with a double-edged dagger.
He then travelled to Ilkeston Road, where he hid before launching a fatal attack on university students Webber and O’Malley-Kumar, as they walked home from a night out.
Calocane went on to kill caretaker Ian Coates in the early hours of June 13 last year.
He was originally charged with murder but this was downgraded to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility because of his paranoid schizophrenia.
He was given an indefinite hospital order at Nottingham Crown Court in January.
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Richard said he was now taking antidepressants since witnessing the “horrific” attack.
He said: “As I was on the phone, who I now know as Grace, came over to the assailant and tried to stop him from attacking Barnaby before [Calocane] turned on her.”
“He callously and calmly just turned around after. He just walked off as if nothing had happened – that shook me.”
Richard said the incident has been playing on his mind for the past year as he considers how he could have acted differently.
He told BBC: “I could’ve rushed downstairs, climbed out, spooked the assailant; I could have shouted, but I was just frozen. [Police] said to me that I could have been next if I tried to save anybody.”
Richard claimed his 999 call with the emergency operator was shared with the press by police without his knowledge or permission. Hearing the clip in the media sent him into a panic, he said.
“I was flabbergasted that they hadn’t told me they wanted to use it. I felt shocked and disappointed.”
A Nottinghamshire Police spokesman said: “We’ve been made aware the caller feels upset by hearing the 999 call again and we have apologised for any distress caused.”
A review of the decision by prosecutors to accept Calocane’s manslaughter pleas has since been ordered by the attorney general.
The inquiry will also look into how the victims’ families were consulted.
Calocane is currently being held in a segregated unit of the high-security Ashworth Hospital because of the risk he poses to other patients.