Tragic Outcome at Local Supermarket: Woman’s Declared Intent to Kill Realized in Violent Spree

PENYGRAIG, Wales — An inquest into a fatal supermarket attack revealed disturbing details about the events leading up to the tragic day when an 88-year-old man was killed. Zara Radcliffe, a woman suffering from schizophrenia, admitted to authorities that she foresaw the violent acts she committed on May 5, 2020, stating, “I knew I would kill someone today.”

Radcliffe’s violent outburst occurred at a local Co-op store in Penygraig, Rhondda Cynon Taf, where she fatally injured John Rees and harmed three other patrons. The sequence of events leading to the attack began hours earlier, marked by desperate phone calls from Radcliffe’s father to mental health services, pleading for immediate intervention as he feared his daughter was not medicated and might be under the influence of drugs.

On the morning of the incident, Wayne Radcliffe reached out to the crisis mental health team, requesting urgent help and expressing concerns about his daughter’s erratic behavior and drug use. His calls underscored a grave concern for his daughter’s well-being and the safety of others, as he was adamant that immediate action was required.

The family’s attempts to secure help depict a fraught scenario where mental health support seemed agonizingly out of reach. Radcliffe had been discharged from the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in February of the same year after receiving in-patient care for about four months. However, follow-ups with community mental health staff were minimal, raising questions about the adequacy of support for individuals dealing with severe mental health issues.

During the inquest, Laura Morse, Radcliffe’s care coordinator, testified that she had been cautioned about potentially aggressive behavior from Radcliffe’s father, which influenced her decision not to speak directly to him. Instead, she relied on second-hand information and made plans to visit Radcliffe, feeling compelled by the urgent nature of the situation.

Earlier on the day of the attack, law enforcement received a distressing indication of worsening conditions when Radcliffe herself reported a “domestic incident” and disclosed that she had locked herself inside her house. The responding officer, PC Jack Cotton, noted that while Radcliffe did not seem intoxicated or overtly threatening, the true gravity of her mental state was yet to unfold.

Approximately two hours later, the situation escalated dramatically. Dispatch received frantic calls about a violent altercation involving a woman assaulting an elderly man. It was only later understood that the assailant was Radcliffe.

Following her arrest, Radcliffe was quoted by Sergeant James Pearce, the custody officer, as saying she had anticipated committing a lethal act that day. The sheer violence of the attack, during which she used wine bottles and a fire extinguisher as weapons, revealed a deeply troubled mind.

Dr. Gaynor Jones, a consultant psychiatrist who assessed Radcliffe after her arrest, described her as “clearly psychotic” and tormented by voices convincing her she was in imminent danger. Radcliffe believed harming someone could provide her a semblance of safety by leading to her incarceration.

Ultimately, the court ruled that Radcliffe should be detained at Rampton high-security hospital under an indefinite hospital order issued in October 2020. The tragic outcome of this case has sparked discussions about the intersection of mental health issues and public safety, emphasizing the critical need for effective and timely mental health care intervention.