‘Selfless and brave’ church warden killed while trying to save nurse, court hears

Telegraph reporters
·2-min read
Eunice with late husband John Rees  - Wales news service 
Eunice with late husband John Rees - Wales news service

A ‘selfless and brave’ church warden was beaten to death as he tried to stop another shopper from being stabbed, a court heard.

John Rees, 88, had left his wife Eunice, 87, in their car while he went inside a village Co-op to pick up essentials in May.

But he was stabbed in the face by mum-of-one Zara Anne Radcliffe, 30, when he found her attacking a nurse with a knife.

Brave Mr Rees saved nurse Gaynor Saurin when he tried to tackle Radcliffe.

But he was tragically stabbed himself - before Radcliffe then attacked him with a glass bottle and a fire extinguisher.

Mr Rees died inside the Co-op store and three other shoppers were injured in the frenzied attack in Penygraig in the Rhondda, South Wales.

Prosecutor Michael Jones QC described Mr Rees's efforts to stop Radcliffe as "A selfless and brave act which cost him his life."

He added: "Another customer, Lisa Way, attempted to talk to the defendant but she was attacked and injured by the knife.

"The defendant focused on Mr Rees and repeatedly attacked him with a glass wine bottle and a fire extinguisher as he laid on the floor."

Church warden Mr Rees was described as "the very definition of a good man, extremely respected and liked in the community" by his family.

His cause of death was recorded as severe blunt trauma to the face including multiple facial fractures.

Radcliffe admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility over the attack which happened in May.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced to indefinite hospital orders under sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act by a judge at Merthyr Crown Court after pleading guilty to the manslaughter by diminished responsibility.