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Queen’s Gallantry Medal for Rhondda resident who stepped in during attack

Credit: Press Association

A heroic Rhondda resident has been recognised for her bravery.

Ayette Bounouri, a French citizen who is a long-standing resident of the Rhondda, received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for attempting to prevent Zara Radcliffe from attacking shoppers in the Co-op store in Penygraig in May 2020.

As a mark of appreciation to South Wales Police for the care and compassion displayed by its officers to all those caught up in the tragic incident, Senior Investigating Officer Det Supt Mark O’Shea was invited by Ms Bonouri to accompany her to the medal ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The late Queen Elizabeth bestowed the award upon the three heroic individuals shortly before her passing in 2022. It was presented this Wednesday by the Prince of Wales.

John Rees, who stepped in first to protect fellow shoppers, died following the incident. He received a posthumous award of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, while a third individual, Lisa Way, also received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for her acts of bravery on that day.

Radcliffe was detained with a hospital order after admitting Mr Rees’ manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and admitting to three charges of attempted murder.

Det Supt O’Shea, who nominated all three for the bravery awards, said:

“As the Senior Investigating Officer in this case I felt the actions of all three members of the public deserved the highest award for civilian gallantry. They risked their lives in order to protect others.

“John Rees tragically sacrificed his life, but in doing so, undoubtedly saved others. The actions of Ayette Bounouri and Lisa Way were of the highest acts of selfless bravery, putting their lives in danger to protect others.

“To be invited by Ayette to attend the ceremony at Windsor Castle to represent South Wales Police was an honour. It was a privilege to see the deserved award of this prestigious medal for the acts of selfless bravery I know took place that day.”