Suspect in knife and van attack appears in court

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A 31-year-old man appeared in a court on Saturday accused of murdering two college students and a school caretaker in a knife and van attack earlier this week in the English city of Nottingham.

Valdo Calocane was flanked by three security officers as he appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court. He is charged with the murder of Nottingham University students Barnaby Webber and Grace O’Malley-Kumar, both 19, who were stabbed to death in a street near student housing as they were walking home before dawn on Tuesday.

He is also accused of killing school caretaker Ian Coats, 65, stealing his van and running down a group of pedestrians.

Calocane is also charged with attempting to murder the three pedestrians in a hit-and-run that left one of the victims critically injured.

The suspect spoke only to confirm his details.

He gave a different name, Adam Mendes, and said he was of no fixed abode. Tuesday’s rampage in Nottingham, a university city of about 350,000 in central England, shook the country. Thousands of people, many of them university students, attended vigils at the college and in the city center to remember those killed.

Police said they believed the suspect acted alone, and were working with counterterrorism officers to try to establish a motive.

The attack has not been labeled terrorism by the authorities, and police are investigating issues including the suspect’s mental health.

The BBC and other UK media reported that the suspect was originally from West Africa and has lived legally in Britain for many years.

Police said earlier that Calocane is a former Nottingham University student, but said this was not believed to be connected with the attack.

Calocane was remanded into custody and is expected to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday.

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