Cardiff hit-and-run killer Matthew Tvrdon is to be sentenced today after prosecutors accepted his guilty pleas to 32 charges.
As families of the victims gathered at Cardiff Crown Court this morning, the 31 year old appeared on a video link to admit killing mum-of-three Karina Menzies and attacking 17 other people in a 30-minute rampage during the school run on October 19 last year.
His admission of guilt means WalesOnline can reveal that, in the months leading up to his deadly driving spree, Tvrdon suffered a mental breakdown while working for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at their offices in Llanishen, Cardiff.
The tax office worker was originally charged with Karina’s murder and with attempting to murder 13 other pedestrians, but prosecutors have now accepted his guilty pleas to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, as well as to seven attempted murders, four counts of either causing or attempting to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), four of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) and one count of dangerous driving.
It means Tvrdon, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and who is currently in Ashworth secure hospital in Merseyside, will now not stand trial and is instead set to be sentenced later today after an adjournment.
He will be sentenced via video link due to medical grounds.
During this morning’s hearing, the court heard how Tvrdon swerved 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 children walking home from school with their mum and seemed hellbent on causing as much destruction as possible.
Just seconds after that first attack, and off camera, Tvrdon rammed into Annie Jones, 22, and her partner Adam Lewis, 23, while she pushed their two-year-old daughter in her push chair.
Little Amelia-May was catapulted into the air as Tvrdon drove off towards the fire station where he spotted Karina Menzies, 31, and her two children.
Mum-of-three Karina was with her eight-year-old daughter Ellie and baby girl Tiana when the van headed straight at them.
Ellie told relatives after being rushed to hospital with her 23-month-old sister: “Mum screamed and threw us out of the way.”
This final act of heroism was made all the more remarkable because Karina suffered from suffered from a crippling 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 drove up nearby Grand Avenue hitting three more innocent people 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 then looked on as he 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.
As well as admitting manslaughter, he admitted the attempted murders of Annie Jones, of Jill and Becky White, of a woman and her two daughters on Grand Avenue and of a woman in the first attack on Cowbridge Road West – all four of whom cannot be named for legal reasons.
Tvrdon admitted GBH charges in relation to Karina’s daughters Ellie and Tiana and to two children in the first attack who also cannot be named for legal reasons.
He also pleaded guilty to charges of ABH in relation to three people he attacked at the Asda garage named as Shah Kamruzz Aman and Antwar Singh, plus one police officer Lisa Carpin. He also admitted ABH in relation to police officer Gareth Brien – who was assaulted on arrest – and entered a guilty plea, which the prosecution accepted, of common assault in relation to Adam Lewis.
He also entered a guilty plea, which was again accepted, of ABH towards baby Amelia-May and admitted driving dangerously on roads that included Western Avenue, Cowbridge Road West, Grand Avenue, Penarth Road, Barry Road and those at the Capital Retail Park.