Killer schizophrenic detained for hit-and-run spree

Matthew Tvrdon: Detained for life in a secure hospital. Picture: PA
Matthew Tvrdon: Detained for life in a secure hospital. Picture: PA
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A PARANOID schizophrenic who ran down and killed a mother of three in a hit-and-run frenzy aimed at killing many more has been detained in a ­secure hospital indefinitely.

Matthew Tvrdon, 32, turned a three-tonne van into a weapon and mowed down Karina Menzies, 31, in a deadly 30-minute spree in Cardiff, south Wales.

A High Court judge at Cardiff Crown Court sentenced him yesterday to be held indefinitely in a maximum-security hospital for those suffering mental illness.

The sentence follows Tvrdon’s plea of guilty to manslaughter through diminished responsibility over the death of Ms Menzies.

Tvrdon sped through a Cardiff suburb as he suffered severe paranoid delusions and hallucinations in October last year.

In a lethal fantasy, he targeted strangers he believed had conspired to undermine his mental health after years of plotting.

During 30 minutes in the city’s Ely and Leckwith districts, he attacked five separate groups of people, including parents with children, in his van.

A total of 18 people were injured in the devastation he caused, including a police officer assaulted with a crook lock as he tried to arrest Tvrdon.

Many of the victims and their families listened as the judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams summed up. Several reacted angrily as sentence was passed and the judge made it clear that Tvrdon would be detained long-term for treatment in a secure hospital.

“Is that all he’s having?” one man shouted as he left the court in anger.

“They should have put a gun to his head,” a second man said, as he also left the court.

Tvrdon appeared at the hearing via videolink from Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospital in Maghull, Merseyside, where he will now be detained.

He sat in silence throughout the hearing yesterday and did not react as sentence was passed.

“Eighteen people were directly affected by your actions – but they have had a much wider impact upon many more,” the judge said.

“You caused incalculable harm to many people. But I am satisfied that without your serious mental illness, you would not have behaved in the way you did.”

Tvrdon’s journey started at 3:30pm on a Friday as he sped through streets, mounting kerbs and targeting parents returning from collecting their children from school.

Ms Menzies was the third of his targets to be mown down as she walked home with two of her three children.

In a frantic final act, she managed to throw her daughters to safety before she was killed.

A crippling nerve condition prevented her running away and she died in front of horrified witnesses outside Ely fire station.

The 30 minutes of carnage was carried out over almost eight miles and left Tvrdon with little recollection of what he had done.

The judge told Tvrdon: “As long ago as 2003, you were diagnosed as suffering from paranoia and the view was then expressed that you probably had a schizophrenic illness.”

The judge said that he did not regard Tvrdon as being to blame for the intent he had formed to kill people.