Suspect in Wales hit and run rampage ‘assaulted’ victims and carried weapon
THE van driver who killed a mother-of-three and injured 13 pedestrians in a hit and run rampage in Cardiff got out of his vehicle and physically assaulted his victims.
Detective Superintendent Paul Hurley from South Wales Police said Friday afternoon’s tragedy in Cardiff was also thought to have involved an unknown weapon.
Karina Menzies (32) was killed as she walked her younger daughters home from school, and witnesses described how the white Iveco van careered onto the pavement straight at her.
Miss Menzies’ eldest child, 10, who is disabled, is on holiday in Florida and has not yet been told of her mother’s death.
Police are questioning a 31 year-old man on suspicion of murder. Fourteen people were injured and nine remain in hospital, including five children. Two adults are in a critical but stable condition at the University Hospital of Wales, cardiff.
Mr Hurley said: “We are aware the suspect assaulted people outside his vehicle.”
Mr Hurley urged witnesses to get in touch and asked for information about a black Renault Clio seen driving on the wrong side of the road of Western Avenue, not far from Cowbridge Road West, where one of the incidents took place.
“These are traumatic events for the community to deal with. We have 70 officers working on this investigation,” he said.
“Our priority is to unravel exactly what happened.”
The van driver’s youngest victim was recovering in hospital after her parents were also targeted as they pushed her pram.
Amelia-May Lewis, two, was left covered in blood from facial injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.
Her mother Annie Jones, 22, underwent an operation on her leg which had been broken in two places.
Friends paid tribute to Miss Menzies, a single parent, who was with her 23 month-old toddler and eight year-old daughter, on the way home from nearby Trelai Primary School in Ely, Cardiff, on Friday afternoon.
At that point witnesses said she was hit by the van driver who had already begun driving erratically in the Leckwith and Ely suburbs of the Welsh capital.
The toddler was taken to hospital for observation and the eight year-old is understood to have suffered a head injury.
Claire Powell, 34, a friend of the dead woman, said: “It is just tragic. The two girls must have seen their mother killed right in front of their eyes.
“It will haunt them forever. But I also feel massively sorry for her other daughter because she’s in Orlando at the moment.
“She has a disability and went there last weekend as a special treat. Karina was so happy for her – but waving her off was the last time she saw her.”
The eldest daughter was given the holiday through the Dreamflight charity which takes disabled youngsters on dream breaks.
“Karina was so excited that her little girl was going to Disneyland. She’s been missing her but knew she was having a great time,” said Miss Powell.
“It is just so sad that all that has been so awfully wrecked.”
Her former gardener Craig Farrugia (39) said: “She was a loving, devoted mum. Her family will be absolutely devastated over this.
“She was always concerned about her family and her girls – she always put them first.
“It is a damn shame that an innocent life should be wiped out in such a terrible way.”
Former next door neighbour Kelly Stickler, 32, said: “She really was a lovely woman who always had time for anyone.
“She was such a lovely, outgoing character and enjoyed life.
“It’s just so sad what has happened, everyone here is devastated.”
There were unconfirmed reports that detectives were investigating whether the attacker was involved in a domestic incident before the rampage.
There were also reports that the van driver flew into a rage with another motorist at the Asda petrol station at Leckwith, Cardiff.
Witnesses saw him hit his victim over the head with a crooklock device before careering off. Police confirmed a woman, 27, suffered a head injury and another woman, 49, had multiple injuries.
Police were yesterday investigating at least five scenes where his large Iveco van hit pedestrians.
Other victims included two schoolgirls, aged 10 and 12, who had just been browsing for birthday cards in a corner shop in Ely, Cardiff, where a 32 year-old man suffered multiple injuries.
Another two boys walking down the road were also hit – and a mother and her son on a bike.
Witnesses reported the driver even stopped and reversed back over at least one of his victims.
The driver is said to have dumped his van before fleeing on foot. A man was later arrested outside the Merrie Harrier pub in Llandough, Cardiff.
Police are looking for the black Renault Clio which witnesses reported being driven on the wrong side of the road near Tesco in Gabalfa, Cardiff, just before the incident.