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Hospital order for beating to death 88 years-old man

At Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday, 21 October, 2020), Zara Radcliffe, 29, of Wyndham Street, Penygraig, was given an indefinite hospital order after pleading guilty to manslaughter and three counts of attempted murder on the basis of diminished responsibility.

Local man John Rees, who was 88 years-old, was beaten to death on 5th May, after he tried to save a woman who was being attacked by Zara Radcliffe inside the Co-op store in Tylacelyn Road, Penygraig.

While paying for his shopping, Mr Rees noticed a commotion behind him, and immediately put himself between Zara Radcliffe and a woman who she was attacking with a knife.

Radcliffe’s attention turned to Mr Rees, who bravely fought for his life as she tried to stab him with the knife she had carried with her inside the shop.

Despite valiant attempts by two other woman inside the shop to help Mr Rees, Radcliffe carried out a sustained and brutal attack from which he died.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark O’shea, said: “What happened on May 5th in a quiet and peaceful Rhondda village, devastated a family, traumatised those who were faced with the most horrific scenes, and deeply shocked the wider community of Penygraig.

“I do hope that the family of John Rees, and all those affected, can take some comfort from knowing that the individual responsible is now held securely and that there can be no further threat to society.

“It is important to highlight the selfless bravery of John Rees, who despite being 88 years-old, put himself in harm’s way to protect a total stranger.

“He made the ultimate sacrifice for his heroics that day, and it is important that his death is not in vain and that his actions are celebrated. His family can be extremely proud as they remember their much loved husband, father, and grandfather.

“I would also like to pay tribute to two other women, who despite the risks, also put themselves in grave danger as they desperately tried to save John Rees from a horrific attack.

“I have nominated each of them for a Gallantry Award. Whilst that can do nothing to change what tragically unfolded that day, I do hope that somehow, in time, the day can be remembered just as much for the extraordinary community spirit and heroism shown by ordinary people.”