The Telegraph 2024-05-14 10:00:35

Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane’s sentence not unduly lenient, judge rules

Valdo Calocane’s sentence for killing three people in a knife rampage in Nottingham last summer was not unduly lenient, three senior judges have concluded.

The 32-year-old paranoid schizophrenic was given an indefinite hospital order in January after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and school caretaker Ian Coates, and the attempted murder of three others.

The Attorney General referred the case to the Court of Appeal arguing that it was unduly lenient and should have included an element of punishment.

But in a decision handed down on Tuesday morning, Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales Baroness Carr, Lord Justice Edis and Mr Justice Garnham rejected the application.

It means Calocane’s sentence will not be changed.

In a summary of the Court of Appeal’s decision not to change the sentence of the triple killer, the Lady Chief Justice Baroness Carr said: “It is impossible to read of the circumstances of this offending without the greatest possible sympathy for the victims of these terrible attacks, and their family and friends.

“The victim impact statements paint a graphic picture of the appalling effects of the offender’s conduct.

“Had the offender not suffered the mental condition that he did, the sentencing judge would doubtless have been considering a whole life term.

“But neither the judge nor this court can ignore the medical evidence as to the offender’s condition which led to these dreadful events or the threat to public safety which the offender continues to pose.”

Dr Sanjoy Kumar and Dr Sinead O’Malley, the parents of Ms O’Malley-Kumar, attended the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday while the relatives of Mr Webber and Mr Coates did not appear.

Calocane fatally stabbed 19-year-old university students Mr Webber and Ms O’Malley-Kumar as they walked home from a night out in the early hours of June 13 last year, before killing Mr Coates and stealing his van.

He then used the vehicle to knock down three pedestrians, Wayne Birkett, Marcin Gawronski and Sharon Miller, in Nottingham city centre before being arrested.

Prosecutors accepted his not-guilty pleas to murder at his sentencing at Nottingham Crown Court in January after multiple medical experts concluded he had paranoid schizophrenia.

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Turner told Calocane that his “sickening crimes” meant he would be detained indefinitely in a high-security hospital “very probably for the rest of your life”.

He also ruled that Calocane should be subject to further restrictions if ever discharged from hospital, which would need to be approved by the Justice Secretary.

The families of the victims criticised the sentence, with Mr Webber’s mother, Emma, telling reporters outside court that “true justice has not been served today”.

While a later review found that prosecutors were right to accept Calocane’s pleas, Attorney General Victoria Prentis referred the sentence to the Court of Appeal, describing the killings as “horrific”.

At the hearing in London last Wednesday, Deanna Heer KC, representing the Attorney General’s Office, said that Calocane’s “extreme” crimes warranted “the imposition of a sentence with a penal element, an element of punishment”.

But Peter Joyce KC, for Calocane, said that none of the offences would have been committed “but for the psychosis” and that imposing a hybrid order would mean he would be “punished for being mentally ill”.

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Government warned slashing number of foreign graduates could lead to collapse of some universities

Government migration advisers have rejected ministers’ calls to slash the number of foreign graduates at UK universities.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said the two-year graduate visa route was “not undermining” the integrity and quality of the higher education system and should remain in place.

It said it found no evidence of “significant abuse” of the route which allows international students to stay in the UK for two or three years after graduation.

The MAC concluded it was helping universities to make up for financial losses on domestic students and research through income from international tuition fees. It warned further curbs on foreign graduates could lead to course closures and “in the extreme”, the collapse of some universities.

It comes amid demands from ministers and senior Tory MPs for the route to be axed amid claims that the visas were being used as a backdoor immigration route rather than education. The Government is under pressure to cut net migration from its record high of 745,000 and has already introduced measures to cut it by 300,000.

Calls to end ‘toxic’ uncertainty over future of graduate route

Common sense minister Esther McVey sparked fury this week when she said she had “no sympathy” for universities facing financial difficulties due to visa changes, branding them “ignorant, ill-informed and dangerous”.

University leaders have, however, called on ministers to end the “toxic” uncertainty over the future of the graduate route by announcing there will be no changes.

The MAC was commissioned to review the graduate route after Home Secretary James Cleverly said he wanted to ensure the route was “not being abused” and demand for study visas was “not being driven more by a desire for immigration rather than education”.

The committee said it was concerned about “potential exploitation” of international students due to poor practices by some agents recruiting people overseas who may be “misselling UK higher education”, but it stressed this was a separate issue from abuse of the graduate route.

The number of graduate visas has more than doubled in a year to 114,000 main applicants, with a further 30,000 for dependants. They are largely concentrated on four nationalities – India, Nigeria, China and Pakistan – which account for 70 per cent of the visas, with India accounting for over 40 per cent.

‘Some institutions could fail’

The MAC said graduate visa holders were initially “overrepresented in lower-paid work” but their outcomes improved over time. It was unable to assess the risk of overstaying due to a lack of Home Office data.

It said that restrictions on foreign students bringing in dependents, announced last year, would reduce numbers, with initial deposits for places down by 63 per cent this year. It warned any further restrictions would increase the decline in overseas students.

This, it said, would mean the Government would miss its target to attract 600,000 foreign students to the UK. It would also mean “further substantial financial difficulty” for universities leading to “job losses, course closures and a reduction in research, and in the extreme it is not inconceivable that some institutions would fail”.

The MAC was, however, critical of “bad practices” by agents. “The potential poor practice by some agents recruiting international students does risk undermining the integrity of higher education in the UK,” it said.

It follows an investigation by the Sunday Times which found Britain’s top universities were paying agents to recruit lucrative overseas students on far lower grades than those required of UK applicants.

The MAC recommended that the Government should establish a mandatory registration system for international recruitment agents, and universities should be required to publish data on their use of agents to “help protect the integrity” of the UK higher education system.

The MAC’s recommendations are not binding on Government but will make it politically more difficult to cut the graduate visa route.

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Live Chinese ambassador summoned to Foreign Office over ‘UK spies’

The Foreign Office has summoned the Chinese ambassador to a meeting after three people were charged on Monday with spying for Hong Kong, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Zheng Zeguang is understood to be meeting with officials rather than Lord Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, or any other government ministers.

The ambassador is expected to be challenged on allegations of foreign interference on UK soil. The meeting had been scheduled for 10.30am in the Foreign Office.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesman, said: “Today, on instruction from the Foreign Secretary, the Chinese Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

 “The FCDO was unequivocal in setting out that the recent pattern of behaviour directed by China against the UK including cyber-attacks, reports of espionage links and the issuing of bounties is not acceptable.

 “The summons followed Monday’s announcement that three people have been charged with offences under the National Security Act as part of an investigation led by officers from the Met Police’s Counter Terrorism Command. The foreign intelligence service to which the charges relate is that of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan warned Archewell charity could be suspended over late tax returns

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Foundation has been warned that it could be subjected to fines or suspended from the charity register.

The “delinquency notice” sent by California’s attorney general on May 3, suggests that Archewell did not file its 2022 tax return or related fees on time.

It states: “The above captioned entity is listed as delinquent with the Registry of Charities and Fundraisers for failing to submit required annual report(s) and/or renewal fees.

“An organisation that is listed as delinquent is not in good standing and is prohibited from engaging in conduct for which registration is required, including soliciting or disbursing charitable funds.”

The Telegraph understands that although Archewell did file the relevant documents on time, a cheque sent for the money owed never arrived.

The Sussexes’ team was not aware the cheque had been lost until it received the notice, dated May 3.

It has now sent another cheque and expects the matter to be rectified in a matter of days.

Archewell was urged to send all relevant reports and fees “immediately” in order to avoid “further adverse actions”.

The notice, from California’s Department of Justice, says: “The organisation may also be subject to penalties and its registration may be suspended or revoked by the Registry. Once you submit the delinquent record(s), you will be notified of the amount of any late fees that are owed.”

Last year, the Inland Revenue Service postponed tax deadlines for most individuals and businesses based in California due to the severe storms, flooding and landslides the previous winter, giving them until mid-November last year.

Archewell’s 2021 filing, filed last February, revealed that the Duke and Duchess had raised $13 million (£10.3 million) from wealthy benefactors and $4,500 in public donations as initial start-up revenue.

The bulk of its income came from one individual donor. The document said Archewell had given out $3 million in grants.

A 2022 tax filing was filed last year and has been published online. The document suggests that Archewell suffered an $11 million drop in donations on the previous year, with total revenue listed at just over $2 million.

The tax return shows that the foundation spent more than it received in 2022, resulting in a deficit of $674,000. However, it maintained assets of some $8.5 million.

Archewell employed five people, with salaries totalling $640,441 for the year. The Duke and Duchess did not take a salary.

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Teacher said she liked attention from teenagers after ‘struggling’ with break-up

A maths teacher said she liked attention after “struggling” with a break-up during the pandemic but insisted that she did not have sex with any pupils while she was teaching them, a court heard.

Rebecca Joynes, 30, denies four charges of sexual activity with two teenagers, and two counts of sexual activity while being a person in a position of trust.

Manchester Crown Court heard she had been arrested and suspended from her job in October 2021 over allegations of sexual activity with Boy A, aged 15. She denies any sexual contact with the boy.

The teacher admitted to meeting Boy A after he correctly guessed her mobile phone number during a maths lesson.

She agreed she had bought the teenager a £345 Gucci belt at the Trafford Centre before taking him back to her Salford Quays apartment, but denies his claim that they had sex.

Joynes claimed the boy’s behaviour had become increasingly “flirtatious” towards her but she admitted she should never have allowed him to start messaging her.

“I was really stupid and shouldn’t have done it,” she said.

She had agreed to let him stay over at her apartment after the shopping trip but insisted he sleep on the couch.

“I tried to explain I had been in a nine-year-relationship and had really struggled with the break-up and I was not the type of person who goes around sleeping with people,” she said.

She added that she shouldn’t have contacted Boy A and should “definitely” not have taken him to her apartment, but she had been “lonely” and had “responded” to the attention he gave her.

‘Struggled over Covid period’

When questioned by her own barrister Michael O’Brien, Joynes said she would change “everything” about how she behaved, but claimed she had “let [her] guard down”.

Joynes added: “I caved in to the attention he was giving me.”

“I struggled massively over the Covid period. I think I was obviously lonely and I liked the attention at the time, which sounds awful.”

Joynes was on conditional bail which banned her from unsupervised contact with under-18s when she allegedly had sex with Boy B, 16, whom she later became pregnant by.

It is alleged they first had sex after the boy had gone to her flat in February 2022.

Joynes denied this and said she had initially seen the boy as her “best friend”, although he had later joked about them meeting up, sending her a message saying he had “left school” alongside a “winking” emoji.

She admitted they did eventually have sex after she was dismissed from her job in July 2022.

Joynes admitted to inviting Boy B back to her flat while she was on bail. She told the court they had had a “strong friendship at the beginning” and that she had been “helping him with his maths GCSE”.

She also said the pair went for a walk together.

Joynes said she was “curious” about Boy B contacting her on Snapchat and they “opened up” to each other as friends.

“I genuinely believed that he cared,” she said.

The jury heard she later became pregnant with the 16-year-old’s child. She told him during a “date night” at her flat when she presented him with a babygrow, the court heard. She gave birth to a girl in January.

She admitted she got Boy B to factory reset her telephone shortly before she was suspended then arrested because she had “panicked” about the situation.

‘In complete panic mode’

She said: “I don’t know I was in complete panic mode, I knew I was breaking bail conditions by having a relationship at that point.”

A tearful Joynes then told the jury that court proceedings had seen her newborn daughter “taken off me 24 hours after she was born” and she was only allowed limited contact.

Joe Allman, prosecuting, asked if she had been trying to evoke sympathy from the jury by tucking a pink baby’s bonnet visibly into the top of her trousers.

“No. Definitely not,” Joynes said. “I sleep with this every night.”

When asked earlier about the aftermath of the baby’s birth, Joynes, breaking down in tears, replied: “An emergency court hearing was held and she was taken off me 24 hours after she was born.

“At the moment I have got contact with her three times a week for three hours. That’s it.”

The trial continues.

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China furious at arrest of ‘UK spies’

A Border Force officer and a Home Office immigration official were among three people charged on Monday with spying for Hong Kong…

Teenager stabbed to death at party was protecting girl, court told

A teenage boy was stabbed to death at a party in the grounds of a £1.5 million mansion as he tried to protect a girl from an alleged killer’s advances, a court has been told.

Charlie Cosser was 17 when he was stabbed in a fight on the dance floor at the Balmohano Farmhouse in Warnham, near Horsham in rural Sussex, on July 22 last year.

Another 17-year-old boy, who was 16 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, denies murder.

The first day of his trial at Lewes Crown Court on Monday heard that at least 100 people attended the party hosted by triplets to celebrate the end of term.

Trouble began to flare when a girl at the party complained about the defendant and said he had made advances on her, Alan Gardner KC said for the prosecution.

The girl said the defendant was “creeping her out”, the barrister said, and Cosser and his friend approached the defendant and asked him to leave.

“Two separate fights erupted on the dance floor,” Mr Gardner said.

“It is on that brief altercation on the dance floor the prosecution say the defendant used the knife he was carrying to stab Charlie Cosser in the chest.

“In the darkness and noise of a crowded dance floor his use of the knife and the knife blows went unnoticed,” Mr Gardner said.

The court was told how Charlie Cosser was able to leave a marquee in the farmhouse grounds, where the teenagers had gathered as summer rain lashed down outside, before he collapsed.

The prosecutor told jurors: “At around midnight another party guest was on the DJ’s stage when he noticed a boy he knew to be Charlie Cosser lying on the grass. It looked like he was in discomfort.”

Known as ‘Cheeks’

The 17 year-old, from Milford in Surrey, who was known as Cheeks, died at the Royal Sussex County Hospital three days later on July 25.

He was described by his father Martin, mother Tara, older brother Adam and younger sister Eloise as “the most caring, cheeky, loving son and brother we could have ever wished for”.

His father held his head and wiped tears from his eyes in court as the jury heard details of his last moments of consciousness.

Mobile phone video footage dated as having been taken at 11.59pm on July 22 last year showed the moment Charlie was stabbed three times in the chest, with police frame-by-frame forensic analysis showing a wound to the central area of the chest proved to be fatal, jurors were told.

Mr Gardner said the defendant, who was then aged 16, or one of his friends brought the knife to the party and that he had blood on his hands and clothes.

The court heard that one partygoer had claimed that the defendant called out “get the shank” moments before the stabbing, and that another witness had later heard the defendant say, “I’ve stabbed someone,” six or seven times.

The knife involved in the stabbing had never been found, the court was told.

The trial continues.

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