Mystery car sought in Cardiff hit-and-run rampage
MURDER squad detectives last night continued questioning a suspect over a fatal hit-and-run rampage as nine victims remained in hospital.
Two of the injured adults were in a critical condition and five children were also receiving treatment after the driver of a white van brought bloodshed to the streets of Cardiff.
Last night, as officers questioned a 31-year-old man, tributes were paid to Karina Menzies, 32, who died after she was knocked down outside a fire station in the Welsh capital. And it emerged one of her children, who is disabled, is on a “dream holiday” in Florida and does not know of the tragedy.
More than 70 officers from South Wales Police were working on the investigation, studying CCTV footage and appealing for witnesses to come forward to help build a picture of what happened.
Detective Superintendent Paul Hurley said the suspect carried a weapon and left his Iveco van to physically assault people. The officer said: “We are aware the suspect assaulted people outside his vehicle,” and he added police were “looking to identify and recover” the weapon – which was believed to be a crook lock.
There were unconfirmed reports police were investigating if the driver was involved in a domestic incident before the rampage. A key part of the inquiry is focused on establishing who owns the white van.
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 crash happened. There were no full registration details for the Clio, but it had an 05 plate.
The horrific events began when police received calls about an incident in Crossways Road in Ely at 3:30pm on Friday. This was soon followed by other reports of hit-and-run collisions in several locations in the west of the city. A total of 14 people were injured in the crashes.
Floral tributes were laid at the scene where Menzies was killed. Among those paying their respects was local Labour MP Kevin Brennan. He said: “It’s absolutely shocking. Karina was a well-liked mother who had three children. One of her children is disabled and is currently on a dream holiday in Florida.
“This incident is beyond senseless and has rocked the whole community.”
Scores of tributes were also paid to Menzies on social networking sites. Facebook user Katy Johanna Benson wrote: “Rest in piece Karina Menzies. Sleep tight beautiful angel and may the scum responsible for this senseless, evil murder be brought to justice.”
Ely sub-postmaster Shady Taha, 29, had served two girls aged about ten and a woman in her mid-20s moments before one of the hit-and-run incidents in Grand Avenue, immediately outside a row of shops. He said: “I heard a bang. I looked out and across the road one girl was on the floor and the other girl was screaming. I heard a van speed off, but I did not see it.”
Lynda Paterson, who lives in Cowbridge Road West, described the scene outside her house as chaotic. “I was going to pick my children up from school and I could see there were police and someone was lying on the floor, on the pavement,” she added.
“I could see police running back and forth along the road and I now know a child had been hit.”
Other eyewitnesses said pedestrians were deliberately targeted by someone driving a white van.
“We had a customer in our shop who said the van mounted the kerb like the driver wanted to run down young kids with their parents,” a female shop worker in Grand Avenue, who did not want to be named, said.
The A&E department at the University Hospital of Wales was initially shut to anyone not involved in the incident but reopened later.
Dr Grahame Shortland, medical director at the hospital, said those being treated mostly had fractures and head injuries.
Community leaders said a special service for the victims and families will be held at the Church of the Resurrection on Grand Avenue in Ely at 5pm today.
It will be led by priest-in-charge, the Reverend Jan Gould.
She said: “This will be an opportunity for the whole community to come together, share their grief and find support.
“People here are numb at the moment and in shock – it’s like a state of carnage.
“Fortunately, despite its problems, Ely is a very close-knit community and people here are wonderful at pulling together and supporting each other.
“They always turn to the church in times of trouble and we are here to help however we can.”
Police were last night granted a further 36 hours to detain and question the suspect.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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