Nottingham victims to be honoured by cricketers on day one of men’s Ashes test

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  • June 15, 2023
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T

he three victims of a knife and van rampage in Nottingham will be honoured by cricketers on day one of the men’s Ashes test as police continue to question a suspect.

England and Australia will wear black armbands on Friday after thousands of people gathered in Nottingham’s Old Market Square to pay their respects to Grace O’Malley-Kumar, Barnaby Webber and Ian Coates – who were all fatally stabbed in Tuesday’s attacks.

Talented 19-year-old students Ms O’Malley-Kumar and Mr Webber were found stabbed to death in Ilkeston Road at around 4am on Tuesday.

Dedicated school caretaker Mr Coates, 65, was then found dead in Magdala Road after his van was allegedly stolen by the suspect.

Nottinghamshire Police said detectives were granted a further 36 hours to quiz a former University of Nottingham student after he was tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder.

All three victims have been remembered for their love of sport as tributes told of how Ms O’Malley-Kumar had played cricket for the Essex U15 team, Mr Webber had played the sport for his school and local clubs and Mr Coates had been a lifelong Nottingham Forest fan.

The heartbroken mothers of the two students urged the city to “hold no hate” at the emotional vigil in Nottingham on Thursday.

Crowds stretching back almost half a kilometre watched on with tears in their eyes as family members from all three victims delivered powerful, heart-wrenching tributes to their loved ones.

Mr Webber’s mother, Emma Webber, fought back tears as she told the crowd that the “monstrous individual” responsible for the deaths “will not define us”.

“I know he will receive the retribution that he deserves,” she said.

“However this evil person is just that. He is just a person.

“Please hold no hate that relates to any colour, sex or religion.”

The history student’s tearful brother and father stood behind Mrs Webber as she clutched his photo and said: “My beautiful, beautiful boy, you have mine, your dad and your brother’s heart forever.”

Mother of medical student Ms O’Malley-Kumar, Sinead O’Malley, echoed the sentiment of holding no hate and urged the crowd: “Be kind to each other, look after each other, don’t have hate in your hearts.”

She said the magnitude of the grief for her daughter reflects the magnitude of the love she and her family had for her.

Family members of both students offered a hand of support on each other’s shoulders as they attempted to get through their emotional addresses.

A huge number of people watching sobbed as Dr Sanjoy Kumar said their family had “become three”.

Please hold no hate that relates to any colour, sex or religion

He had to pause to wipe his eyes during his address, calling himself a “broken-heart father” before asking people to imagine a world without violence, one of “just love”.

Ms O’Malley-Kumar’s brother James’ voice shook as he called his sister his best friend and said: “If there’s only one message that comes out of this, I urge you all to cherish every moment you spend with your loved ones as you just never know when it will end.”

The sons of Ian Coates paid tribute to their father wearing red Nottingham Forest shirts, which all had “R.I.P Dad” printed on the back.

One of them, James, promised support to the families of Ms O’Malley-Kumar and Mr Webber before thanking people for the “kind words” that have poured in about his father.

“It feels like he’s touched a lot of hearts over the years, more than what we assumed and knew that he had, so it’s been really nice and heart-warming to see the messages and people come out and talk about how he was when they were younger and how he’s helped them,” he said.

He added: “Dad was an avid fisherman, he loved his family and he also loved his Forest. You Reds.”

The vigil ended with a musical item from University of Nottingham students which prompted parents in the crowd to hold their children in their arms and many to wipe away tears with tissues.

As well as the fatal stab attacks, Nottinghamshire Police said a man also remains in a serious condition in hospital after the van was driven at him in Milton Street.

The force has referred a further incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog after a marked police car followed the vehicle for a short distance before it struck another two pedestrians in Sherwood Street.

The IOPC confirmed it was “assessing the referral to decide what further action may be required.”

The 31-year-old suspect was arrested at 5.30am when the van was eventually stopped.

Police revealed that the suspect is a former University of Nottingham student, but said “this is not believed to be connected with the attack”.

On Thursday afternoon, Home Secretary Suella Braverman visited the city to pay her own tribute to the victims of the attack – laying a wreath at Nottingham Council House with a hand-written message to their families saying: “We are with you.”