Died 19th October 2012
Karina Menzies (32) died on 19th October 2012, outside Ely fire station in a series of hit and run incidents in Cardiff, Wales. Thirteen people were injured, most of them female and seven of them children. Eyewitnesses said pedestrians were deliberately targeted by a man driving a white van, in five separate locations. The series of collisions took place over a 30 minute period. Casualties were taken to the city’s University Hospital of Wales.
On 22nd October 2012 Matthew Tvrdon (31) was charged with one count of murder and 13 of attempted murder. It is alleged in some newspapers that he had had a ‘”row” with his partner before the hit-and-runs took place. He was arrested on the 19th October by South Wales Police , in a white van on the outskirts of the city. By the next day, 9 people remained in hospital, with two adults in intensive care.
Karina Menzies was a mother of three children. Two of her daughters, one 8 and the other only 23 months old, were injured when the van ploughed into them. It is reported Ms Menzies pushed the children as far as possible out of harm’s way, but took the full force of the van herself.
Police first received calls about an incident in Crossways Road in Ely at 3.30pm, while many children were walking home from school. There were subsequent reports of collisions in other locations in the west of the city, Grand Avenue, Cowbridge Road West, Sloper Road and Leckwith Retail Park. Police reported that people were also assaulted outside the van, possibly with a weapon.
Hundreds of people gathered on 21st October to pay tribute to Ms Menzies, close to the spot in Ely where she was killed and a service was held. Candles and flowers were left at the scene of the collision. Ms Menzies’s family paid tribute to her, saying she “lived for her kids and her brothers and sisters and everything she did was for her family”. Ms Menzies’s eldest daughter, who is 10, is on holiday.
The A&E department at the University Hospital of Wales was initially shut to anyone not involved in the incident. Dr Grahame Shortland, medical director at the hospital, said those being treated mostly had fractures and head injuries.
Superintendent Julian Williams, of South Wales Police, said: “This is a tragic incident that has affected a large number of people, and we thank the people of Cardiff for their help and support. Incidents like this are extremely rare here, as they are across south Wales, and we want to reassure the public that a significant number of officers are working on the investigation, including a number of specialist resources.”
Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan described it as a “tragic incident” and said “my heart goes out to the victims”. Mr Brennan said the community wanted justice for Ms Menzies, her family and all those affected by Friday’s tragedy, adding “Once the anger subsides, which is understandable because of what’s happened, what people will want to see is justice for the victims. I think the community in Ely are devastated really by what’s happened. This is a very close-knit community, it’s not a very wealthy one, but it is rich in community spirit. I think first of all people have been shocked, they have been asking the reason why, and now they’re beginning – as this community does – to rally round the victims.”
The Reverend Jan Gould has opened up the Church of the Resurrection on Grand Avenue to offer comfort to the community. She also led the service for Ms Menzies. Reverend Gould said: “People here are numb at the moment and in shock – it’s like a state of carnage. Fortunately, despite its problems, Ely is a very close-knit community and people here are wonderful at pulling together and supporting each other. They always turn to the church in times of trouble and we are here to help, however we can.”
The parish said its bereavement team would offer guidance and pastoral care for people who needed support.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said his thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected adding “A tragic incident like this shows how fragile life is and how vulnerable we all are”. The Most Rev George Stack, the Archbishop of Cardiff, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.
The police have asked for anyone who saw a black Renault Clio being driven on the wrong side of Western Avenue, near the Tesco Extra store, at around 3.25pm on 20th October to contact them.
Note: This report was drawn from reports on the BBC.
For Our Daughters Note: Please see Opinion piece “Were the Cardiff Hit-and-Runs a Sexist Attack?”