Man (88) fatally stabbed in supermarket in Wales while wife waited in car

Three others injured and woman (29) arrested on suspicion of murder in Penygraig

A general view of Penygraig in south Wales where John Rees (88) was one of four people  attacked while visiting a supermarket. Image: Google Streetview.

A general view of Penygraig in south Wales where John Rees (88) was one of four people attacked while visiting a supermarket. Image: Google Streetview.

 

A man killed in a knife attack at a village supermarket in Wales was an 88-year-old church warden doing his weekly shop as his wife waited outside.

John Rees was one of four people caught up in the attack at the Co-op store in Penygraig, Rhondda Valley, on Tuesday.

The three others survived and are in hospital. One is understood to be a nurse who was on a shopping trip between shifts. A 29-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Mr Rees’s family said in a statement: “John was the very definition of a good man, extremely respected and liked in the community.

“He was proud of his family, proud to be a Welshman and devoted to All Saints Church [in nearby Trealaw]. We will all miss him terribly.”

The Rev Peter Gale said: “He was a very dedicated and devoted man. That’s the sort of person John was.”

One tribute left at the church read: “We are all heartbroken, such a lovely, lovely gentleman. Kind and caring. God bless. Thanks for being the lovely man who has rang our church bells every Thursday night for the NHS.”

Waiting in car

Friends said Mr Rees’s wife, Eunice, had remained in their Honda car while he queued up to go into the store. Witnesses said Mr Rees was stabbed in the throat. Police found his wife in the car waiting for her husband.

A friend said: “It is so tragic. John was so dedicated to Eunice and they were always together. She has no idea what has happened. Eunice has dementia and she can’t take it in. She keeps on saying: ‘Where’s John?’”

They added: “He was known to everyone around here as Uncle John - he was that sort of man. He was a church warden and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was the perfect gentleman.”

Andrew Price (58) is recovering in hospital after he was stabbed. His family said he was in a stable condition and undergoing treatment. The two other people, including the nurse, are being treated in hospital from non life-threatening injuries.

Extremely distressing

Chief Supt Dorian Lloyd said: “Yesterday’s horrific incident in Penygraig was extremely distressing and shocking for the local community. I would like to pay tribute to the members of the public and police officers for their efforts at the scene, rendering first aid to those involved in this incident.

“Penygraig is a small close-knit community, which has been put into the national spotlight in such tragic circumstances. I would like to reassure the local community that the police response to the incident was extremely swift and officers were at the scene within minutes.”

He added: “We will continue to maintain a visible presence to support those in the area as they try and come to terms with what has happened. My thoughts and condolences remain with the victim’s family and all those affected by this incident at a very sad time.”

South Wales police have referred themselves to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), but have not said why. - Guardian