Suddenly the whispered buzz in Court No. 2 subsided. Word had gone around. At any moment, someone said, the man charged with the murders of Nottingham University students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, and school janitor Ian Coates, 65, could be among us.
Everyone’s eyes—lawyers, clerks, policemen, journalists—went and stayed on the glass-enclosed wharf. That was the restless expectation, it was like the dock was a stage and we waited for the grand entrance of a famous thespian.
Several minutes passed. Finally, we got our first look at Valdo Amissao Mendes Calocane – bearded, scruffy, handcuffed and flanked by three guards. Not once did this burly trio take their eyes off him.
Calocane, 31, walked into Nottingham Magistrates’ Court wearing a gray T-shirt and jogging bottoms. Maybe he was shuffling down the High Street.
Once he took his place in the dock, initially at the behest of the Magistrates’ Chair, Allison Folkett, he seemed agitated.
GRIM-FACED: An artist’s sketch of Valdo Calocane surrounded by guards in the court’s harbor
Intertwining his fingers, he looked up at the bright ceiling lights and down at the floor.
There were plenty of eyes on him in this wood paneled room, but he never looked at a soul.
Mrs. Folkett asked him to stand behind one of the openings in the glass panel.
These court appearances are mostly pedestrian affairs, but there was slight excitement when asked by the clerk, “Please confirm your name.”
He replied, “Adam Mendes.”
The clerk’s face betrayed confusion. So did the magistrates. Defense attorney Frank Sheeran stepped in and said it was an alias his client uses, confirming his real name as Valdo Calocane.
When asked for his address, Calocane replied, “No address.”
Now he sat, drumming his foot on the floor and moving back and forth.
As the clerk read the charges, Calocane rubbed his palms together. Again he seemed to find refuge in the ceiling and floor.
“On June 13, you killed Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates,” the clerk said. “On the same day you tried to kill Wayne Birkett, Sharon Miller, and Marcin Gawronski.”
At around 4am on Tuesday, Mr Webber, a history student and avid cricketer, from Taunton, and his friend, Mrs O’Malley-Kumar, a first-year medical student and top hockey player, were stabbed to death on Ilkeston Road. on the way back from a night out.
Barnaby Webber, a history student and avid cricketer, from Taunton
Grace O’Malley-Kumar, a first-year medical student and top hockey player
Mr Coates – who worked at Huntingdon Academy and was four months away from retirement – was stabbed to death on Magdala Road and his white Vauxhall Vivaro van was stolen. Calocane allegedly tried to kill three pedestrians with the van. Mr Birkett was hit on Milton Street and Mrs Miller and Mrs Gawronski were hit on Upper Parliament Street.
Dan Wilshaw, prosecutor, urged magistrates not to grant bail. He told the court that there will be a hearing for the six charges at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday. Mrs Folkett ordered Calocane to stand and said: ‘You are being remanded in custody to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on 20 June. You can go now.’
As he was led out, Calocane whispered audibly to the guards to speak to his lawyer. Mr. Sheeran replied, “Tell him I’ll see him in jail.”
Ian Coates worked at Huntingdon Academy and was four months away from retirement
After eight minutes it was over. Calocane was handcuffed again and taken away. Outside court, a friend of Mr Gawronski, 40, said: ‘It’s terrible what has happened. He had a bump on his head and he has injuries to his leg and arm, and he walks with a limp.
“But honestly, he could have been more seriously injured or even killed.
“We are happy to see him at home with his wife and daughter. He’s been in the hospital for 24 hours.’
Mr. Gawronski said, “I got hit by the van, but I can’t say anything. The police told me not to. I’m feeling good.’
Mr. Birkett and Mrs. Miller remain in hospital.