Sunday 19 May 2024
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Heartbroken families of two Nottingham students pay tribute after formal identification

The heartbroken families of two students who died during yesterday’s attacks in Nottingham have paid tribute to them after they were formally identified today (Wednesday 14 June 2023).

University of Nottingham students Barnaby Philip John Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both aged 19, were found in Ilkeston Road just after 4am on Tuesday having been stabbed.

Ian Robert Coates, aged 65, was later found dead from knife injuries in Magdala Road after he was attacked and had his van stolen.

A 31-year-old man remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Barnaby, of Taunton, Somerset, was a talented young cricketer who was studying history.

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In a statement, his family said: “Complete devastation is not enough to describe our pain and loss at the senseless murder of our son.

“Barnaby Philip John Webber was a beautiful, brilliant, bright young man, with everything in life to look forward to. He was a talented and passionate cricketer, who was over the moon to have made selection to his university cricket team.

“At 19 he was just at the start of his journey into adulthood and was developing into a wonderful young man.

“As parents we are enormously proud of everything he achieved and all the plans he had made.

“His brother is bereft beyond belief, and at this time we ask for privacy as a family to be allowed time to process and grieve.

“We will not be making any further statements, particularly in relation to the police investigation. We are so proud to release this photograph, chosen by us as a family, of an amazing son, brother, grandson, nephew, and friend.

“Thank you for your understanding, and to everyone who has supported us in this awful journey so far.”


Barnaby Philip John Webber

Grace, a first-year medical student, was a talented hockey player who was described as ‘a popular member of the England U16 and U18 squads’. She also played for the university.

Her family said: “Grace was an adored daughter and sister; she was a truly wonderful and beautiful young lady.

“Grace was not just a sister to James but his best friend. He is completely heartbroken. As parents, words cannot explain our complete and utter devastation. She will be so dearly missed.

“We were so incredibly proud of Grace’s achievements and what a truly lovely person she was. She was resilient and wise beyond her years. Grace was so happy in life fulfilling her ambition of studying to become a doctor whilst playing topflight hockey at university.

“She leaves behind devastated extended family and friends. We request that all media outlets stop invading our privacy while we face this sorrow.”


Grace O’Malley-Kumar (left) and her family


Mr Coates’ family has also asked media outlets to please respect their privacy at this difficult time.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “It is desperately sad to see the names and faces of the three people who yesterday were going about their everyday lives when they were so viciously and senselessly attacked. They were people who lived in our city, and should still live in our city today.

“It is unimaginable what the family and friends of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar and Ian Coates are going through, my heart goes out to them as they face life without their loved ones. Barnaby and Grace were University of Nottingham students, both aged 19, while Ian, aged 65, was a school caretaker.

“We will remember them at tomorrow’s vigil and stand together against the violence that tragically cut their lives short.”

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