Granddad, 88, died making ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ tackling woman with knife

A hero grandfather was praised by cops for “the ultimate sacrifice”, tackling a crazed knifewoman in a busy supermarket.

John Rees, 88, was “beaten to death” by Zara Radcliffe, 30, who was given an indefinite hospital order for manslaughter and attempted murder.

Church bellringer Mr Rees saved the lives of shoppers at the Co-op store before Radcliffe clubbed him with a wine bottle in a “sustained and brutal” attack.

Two other shoppers who tried to disarm Radcliffe have been recommended for gallantry awards.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark O’Shea said: “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.”

Mr Rees was paying for his shopping when he put himself between Radcliffe and a woman who she was attacking with a knife.

Radcliffe turned on Mr Rees, who bravely fought for his life as she tried to stab him with the knife she had taken inside the shop.

Two woman shoppers tried to protect Mr Rees but he was killed in the horrific incident at the Co-op on May 5.

DCI O’Shea said: “I would also like to pay tribute to the 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.

“I hope the tragic day can be remembered just as much for the extraordinary community spirit and heroism shown by ordinary people.”

Schizophrenic Radcliffe, of Penygraig, admitted the manslaughter of Mr Rees on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

She also admitted the attempted murder of Lisa Way, 53, Gaynor Saurin, 65, and Andrew Price, 58.

Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford sentenced Radcliffe to a hospital order without time limit.

It means she cannot be discharged until a mental health tribunal decides she is no longer a risk to the public.

The judge told her: “Lisa Way heard you shout: “I’m going to kill somebody'” and you stabbed her to the side of her neck. She was fortunately able to get away from you.

“You then turned your attention to Mr Rees. What you did next has rightly been described as a horrific and sustained attack of great violence.

“Mr Rees died in the shop of his horrific injuries.

“Mr Rees was a courageous man and his actions to the last saved the life of Gaynor Saurin.”

Mr Rees, of Trealaw, left a wife Eunice, 87, and was a member of All Saints Church in the Rhondda where he rang the bells there every Sunday.