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Home / Latest News / Matthew Tvrdon: How a mental breakdown led to the devastating Cardiff hit-and-run rampage

Matthew Tvrdon: How a mental breakdown led to the devastating Cardiff hit-and-run rampage

Matthew Tvrdon was once thought of as a “quiet” but “loveable character” who had an obsession with cars.

But on October 19 last year, the tax office worker went on a devastating hit and run rampage, killing Karina Menzies and seriously injuring 13 others during 33 minutes of carnage which brought terror to the streets of the Welsh capital.

And WalesOnline can now reveal that in the months leading up to his deadly driving spree the 31-year-old suffered a mental breakdown while working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at their offices in Llanishen, Cardiff.

Staff at the office, who do not want to be named, claim Tvrdon’s behaviour had became increasingly erratic during his time there.

He eventually suffered a mental breakdown and spent time in Cardiff’s highly respected Whitchurch Psychiatric Hospital before being discharged and returning to work.

Speaking to WalesOnline, one of his colleagues at Ty Glas told how she believed Tvrdon showed clear signs of being seriously mentally unwell after returning to work.

She said he was taken “off the phones” because he could not cope with people and was instead put in a back office job.

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The employee said she thought HMRC “seriously let him down” by not taking his mental health seriously enough.

A spokeswoman for the HMRC refused to answer any questions about Matt Tvrdon’s time with the HMRC in Cardiff.

She said: “We do not comment on individual members of staff.”

A spokeswoman for Whitchurch Psychiatric Hospital also declined to answer any questions about Tvrdon’s treatment citing patient confidentiality.

But people who knew Tvrdon before his mental breakdown described him as a “quiet” but “loveable character” who could often be seen fixing engines with his dad Milan outside his parents’ home in the leafy suburb of Roath, Cardiff.

The eldest of three sons to his nurse mother Mary and Slovakian-born father, neighbours say he moved out about two years ago from his family home in a four-bed semi-detached house at the end of a quiet leafy cul-de-sac.

A court sketch of Matthew Tvrdon
A court sketch of Matthew Tvrdon


“He was obsessed with cars and had different cars all the time,’ one neighbour said.

“He had an enormous American car at one time which took up three spaces.

“He also had a big 4×4 at one stage but he was always in different cars.”

His mother and father, who are in their 60s, have two other sons David, 29, and Josef, who is in his early 20s.

The neighbour added: “They are a lovely family. I’ve lived her for 25 years and there have never been any problems.

“Their mum Mary is a nurse and dad Milan is very polite and lovely. He was in business but has retired.

“Mary is very caring and thoughtful and I know I could get any help from them at any time.

“I remember Matthew pushing his brother in his pram and playing football in the street outside. It is hard to believe any of this.”

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At the time of the road rage attacks on the afternoon of October 19 last year police were are investigating the theory that the driver may have deliberately targeted mothers and children because he was angry after a row with his partner.

This was because Tvrdon began his vile road rampage in the suburb of Ely near to the house of his ex-girlfriend Lisa Davis, 46.

Chilling CCTV footage taken just minutes after he began his terror drive at 3.30pm on Cowbridge Road West showed Tvrdon swerve across four lanes of traffic appearing to target a young couple who were seen moments earlier casually walking down the road.

By this point Tvrdon had already swerved his white Iveco van into two schoolchildren walking home from school with their mum and seemed hell-bent on causing as much destruction as possible.

Just seconds after that first attack Tvrdon rammed into Adam Lewis, 23, and his partner Annie Jones, 22, while she pushed their daughter in her push chair.

Little Amelia-May was catapulted into the air as the madman drove off towards the fire station where spotted tragic Karina Menzies, 31, and her two children.

Mother-of-three Karina was with daughter Ellie, eight, and her baby girl Tiana when the van headed straight at them.

Ellie told relatives after being rushed to hospital with her then 23-month-old sister: “Mum screamed and threw us out of the way.”

This final act of heroism before she was brutally crushed under the wheels of Tvrdon’s van was made all the more remarkable because Karina suffered from suffered from a crippling disease which meant she could not save herself.

Karina suffered from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease which severely weakened her legs.

The condition, which damages nerves outside the spine and brain, meant she would not have been able to get away from the oncoming van fast enough.

After killing Karina, Tvrdon raced up nearby Grand Avenue hitting a woman and her two daughters before driving to an ASDA petrol station in nearby Leckwith.

Here Tvrdon finally left his white van and viscously assaulted three men and a woman with what is believed to be a crook lock from his van.

Horrified eyewitnesses queuing for petrol looked on as he then ran over Jill White, 49, and her daughter Becky White, 27, leaving them with critical injuries.

Soon after the petrol station attack, Tvrdon was pulled over in his van and arrested outside the Merrie Harrier pub in Llandough.

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