South East Wales

Family of Cardiff hit-and-run victim call for more support

Karina Menzies Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Karina Menzies was killed while walking with two of her children in Ely

A woman from Cardiff whose sister died after a series of hit and runs in the city has called for more support for victims' families.

Karina Menzies was killed when Matthew Tvrdon, who was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, drove on an eight-mile "journey of mayhem" in October 2012.

Another 17 people were injured at different locations across the city.

Ms Menzies' sister Samantha, who is the sole guardian of her three daughters, said support is now harder to access.

The 32-year-old, from the Ely area, was struck while walking with two of her children outside Ely fire station. She pushed them out of the way before the van driven by Tvrdon hit her.

Tvrdon, 33, admitted her manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

He also pleaded guilty to seven counts of attempted murder and other charges including three of grievous bodily harm with intent during the incident which took place as parents were on the school run.

He was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act in 2013.

Image copyright South Wales Police

Samantha Menzies told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme that looking after her sister's three children following her death had not always been easy.

"One day you'll feel fine, you'll feel like you want to fight the world, and then the next day you're thinking 'I can't do it. I feel defeated; I don't think I'm good enough for the job'," she said.

"That's when you need your friends and family to pick you up and say, 'actually, in spite of everything, you're doing a good job'."

Fifteen-year-old Sophie, who is the eldest of the three sisters, said: "We go to the cemetery, put down flowers, set off balloons for her on her birthday and on the anniversary as well. Sometimes we write cards on her birthday.

"[We have] teddy bears made out of her clothes. I've got one which is made out of her jeans."

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption CCTV footage showed police attempting to stop Tvrdon's van

The family has received support from a number of organisations but Samantha Menzies said it has become more difficult to access.

"I think we've been really lucky because it's such a high-profile case that people have instantly known about it and some have offered support and some have offered to ask other people to refer us for support," she said.

"But I will say, as time is going on, the support is getting less and less and you've got to fight for the support.

"A lot of people need support and I definitely think there's not enough for everyone who needs it.

"I think we need to have a long, hard look at that system and do something about it."

She added that, despite this, the future is looking positive for the family and she hopes to help others in a similar situation.

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