Ian Coates (left), Barnaby Webber(middle) and Grace O'Malley-Kumar (right)
Photo by PA

Mother Condemns Police for Insensitive Comments on WhatsApp About Her Son’s Tragic Death

Emma Webber, the devastated mother of a teenager brutally murdered in Nottingham, has publicly criticized members of a police WhatsApp group for their insensitive remarks regarding her son’s death. Her son, Barnaby Webber, 19, along with Grace O’Malley-Kumar, 19, and Ian Coates, 65, were victims of a horrific stabbing incident carried out by Valdo Calocane last year.

In an open letter addressed to the officers involved, Mrs. Webber expressed her profound distress over the callous language used in the chat group to describe the violent circumstances of her son’s murder. Calocane, who was 32 at the time of the killings, attacked the victims with a dagger during the early hours of June 13, resulting in three fatalities and additional attempted murders. Following a court case in January, he was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order at Nottingham Crown Court, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, told Yahoo.

The open letter by Mrs. Webber reveals her agony and frustration: “When you say ‘a couple of students have been properly butchered’ did you stop to think about the absolute terror that they felt in the moment when they were ambushed and repeatedly stabbed by a man who had planned his attack and lay waiting in the shadows for them?”

She continued, highlighting the officers’ apparent disregard for the victims’ suffering: “When you say ‘innards out and everything’ did you think about the agony they felt and the final thoughts that went through their minds as this vicious individual inflicted wounds so serious that they had no chance of surviving. Did you relate the excited urgency in your message of spreading ‘big news’ and preparing for a busy shift that countless lives had been destroyed forever.”

Mrs. Webber criticized the police for their desensitized and degrading comments, stating that they have inflicted more trauma than imaginable. Despite her respect for the emergency services, she challenged the officers responsible for the messages to reconsider their professional roles and display greater compassion and respect in the future.

In her poignant plea, she expressed: “I pray you will read this and pause for a while. Dig a little deeper for compassion and care. Show the respect in the future that you did not afford Barney.”

The case has led to wider implications within the Nottinghamshire Police, prompting investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the College of Policing regarding the force’s handling of the situation. This includes scrutiny over unauthorized access to case material by police staff, leading to disciplinary actions and performance interventions.

Emma Webber’s open letter is a stark reminder of the deep wounds inflicted by thoughtless actions and words, calling for accountability and sensitivity from those in positions of authority. As the family continues to grapple with their loss, the community, and the police force are reminded of the enduring impact of their conduct.

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