Cardiff hit-and-runs: Ely community brought closer

People stop to look at the growing number of floral tributes being left outside Ely Fire Station
Image caption People left floral tributes outside Ely fire station following Karina Menzies's death

It was the Cardiff community devastated by a series of hit-and-run incidents, its residents targeted by a rampaging van driver during the school run.

But Ely vicar, the Rev Jan Gould, said October's tragedy, which saw Karina Menzies killed and 17 people injured, had brought residents closer together.

Matthew Tvrdon, 32, who has paranoid schizophrenia, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He also admitted seven counts of attempted murder and other charges including three counts of grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced indefinitely under the Mental Health Act at Cardiff Crown Court

The court heard that in a spree that lasted 30 minutes, he knocked people over like "skittles" as he targeted adults and children at five separate locations in the west of Cardiff as people walked children home from school at 15:30 on 19 October 2012.

Four groups were run over in Ely, including local mother-of-three Ms Menzies, 31, who was hit as she walked with two of her daughters by Ely fire station.

Tvrdon then drove to the nearby Leckwith retail park, where he attacked three people with a steering wheel lock and then ran over a mother and her 27-year-old daughter.

Eventually, after an eight-mile "journey of mayhem", he was stopped by police on the outskirts of Penarth, his van splattered with blood.

Ms Gould, vicar of the Church of the Resurrection in Ely, said that the "surreal" afternoon of chaos would forever be part of the community's history.

But she said it had also brought out the best in local people.

"Everybody knows, I think from the media coverage, that Ely is a close community and it's become so much closer really over these last few months," she said.

Image caption Karina Menzies died and two of her young daughters were hurt

"People have been really looking out for one another, supporting on another, and it's really brought the generosity of the community to the fore.

"They have done all they can to try to support Karina's children but also the other victims as well."

A trust fund which was set up to support Ms Menzies's three daughters has so far raised £25,000, while a separate fund for the other victims had £9,000.

"It's not going to go far but I guess it's a gesture of good will so all those victims know that people have been thinking about them," Rev Gould added.

The vicar said that Ely was now hoping for closure after the court case.

"Probably at the moment it's dredging everything up and making things very raw for people but hopefully once this court case is over and everything's settled, it will bring some closure for the families and they can just begin to get their lives back on track," she said.

"I was talking to one of the parents not long ago who was run over and she said 'I just need this to be finished now'."

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