Woman admits killing pensioner in Co-op store

A woman has admitted killing a pensioner during a series of stabbings inside a Co-op store.

Zara Anne Radcliffe, 30, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 88-year-old John Rees by reason of diminished responsibility.

She had denied murder.

Mr Rees died after suffering severe facial injuries in the attack while shopping at the store during lockdown.

Radcliffe also admitted the attempted murders of Andrew Price, Gaynor Saurin and Lisa Way who were all injured in the incident in the village of Pen Y Graig, Rhondda, South Wales on May 5 this year.

The defendant, from Wyndham Street, Porth entered her pleas during a brief hearing at Merthyr Crown Court.

Pen Y Graig incident
Pen Y Graig incident

She appeared via videolink from Rampton high security hospital in Nottinghamshire where she is currently detained.

Michael Jones QC, prosecuting, told the court the pleas were acceptable to the crown as at the time of the incident Rampton was suffering from schizophrenia.

Radcliffe will be sentenced on Wednesday at Merthyr Crown Court.

Mr Jones told the court: “My Lady, I know, has seen the factual evidence in this case, but also the psychiatric evidence in this case from two experienced psychiatrists.

“We have very carefully considered the evidence in this case and the psychiatric evidence which demonstrates at the time of the offending Miss Radcliffe was profoundly mentally ill and unwell.

“Those pleas represent, the Crown contend, the factual evidence in this case and the psychiatric evidence in this case, namely at the material time and currently, Miss Radcliffe sufferers from schizophrenia.

“Those pleas have been very carefully considered by the prosecution and the police teams and they reflect the factual evidence in this case and the psychiatric evidence in this case and, therefore, we accept those pleas as entered.”

An inquest previously heard Mr Rees, who lived in the nearby village of Trealaw with his wife Eunice, died at the scene from severe blunt force trauma to the face including multiple facial fractures.

He was attacked by Radcliffe while inside the store as his wife waited for him outside, sitting in their car.

In a statement after his death, his 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 will all miss him terribly.”