Advertisement

Penygraig: John Rees honoured after trying to stop killer

Madeleine Davidson-Houston and the Prince Royal
Madeleine Davidson-Houston receiving a bravery medal on behalf of her grandfather, John Rees, from the Princess Royal

An 88-year-old who died trying to save a nurse after she was attacked with a knife has been recognised for bravery.

John Rees intervened when Zara Radcliffe began attacking shoppers in Penygraig, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in 2020.

His granddaughter, Madeleine Davidson-Houston received the Queen's gallantry medal on his behalf on Tuesday.

The Princess Royal carried out the investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle after King Charles postponed public duties due to his cancer diagnosis.

Radcliffe, who had schizophrenia, was detained with a hospital order after admitting manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility for the attack in a Co-op store.

Mr Rees, who was at a supermarket counter while his wife waited outside in their car, took hold of Radcliffe's right arm and placed himself in front of nurse Gaynor Saurin.

He was stabbed and bludgeoned to death despite brave efforts by others to try to save him.

Lisa Way and Ayette Bounouri were also awarded Queen's gallantry medals for their efforts to stop Radcliffe.

The award was one of the last to be approved by Queen Elizabeth.

Ms Davidson-Houston, 26, said: "The fact that the Queen would even acknowledge anything he did would be more than he would ever have expected."

She described her grandfather as "humble" and "a true gentleman" and said his death was a huge loss for the local community, where he was a "keystone" figure.