Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Mum admits stabbing church warden, 88, to death as he walked around Co-Op

A mum has confessed to killing a pensioner who she knifed during a stabbing spree earlier this year.

Zara Anne Radcliffe pleaded guilty at Merthyr Crown Court to the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of church warden John Rees.

The 88-year-old was stabbed to death inside a Co-Op store during a series of stabbings in the village of Pen Y Graig, Rhondda, South Wales, on May 5.

Radcliffe, 30, also pleaded guilty to three charges of attempted murder committed against Andrew Price, Lisa Way and Gaynor Saurin the same day.

During a court hearing she spoke only to enter her pleas from Rampton secure hospital, where she is currently being held.

Prosecuting barrister, Michael Jones QC, told the court the pleas were acceptable to the Crown as Radcliffe had been suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the incident.

Mr Jones said she had been "profoundly mentally ill and unwell" at the time of the offence.

Following Mr Rees' killing, his nephew said he "would do anything for anyone".

Michael Smith, from Pontypridd, said he reacted with "absolute disbelief" when he heard what had happened to his uncle.

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"It's incredibly upsetting," he said.

"You feel sorry for the person impacted, but you have no comprehension about the knock on for the family."

Mr Rees, a retired senior engineer, lived with his wife Eunice at their home in Trealaw.

Nurse Liisa Way who was at the scene sent a heartbreaking apology to Mr Rees via a floral tribute.

A card with the flowers said: "Dearest John, I am so sorry I couldn't save you. I hope you are at peace now. Lisa Way xxx"

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She was also injured in the incident and was treated at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital where she works.

In a statement released through South Wales Police following his death Mr Rees’ family said: “John was the very definition of a good man, extremely respected and liked in the community.

“He was proud of his family, proud to be a Welshman, and devoted to All Saints Church. We all miss him terribly.”

Police were called to the stabbing spree at roughly 1.45pm on Tuesday May 5.

They found several people suffering from knife wounds.

Radcliffe will be sentenced on Wednesday at Merthyr Crown Court.

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