A heroic pensioner was knifed to death as he tried to stop a mentally ill woman from carrying out an attack in a Co-op store, a court has heard.

Church bell ringer, John Rees, was stabbed and bludgeoned with two wine bottles and a fire extinguisher during the assault at the hands of schizophrenic Zara Radcliffe.

The 30-year-old mum was hearing voices in her head and believed someone was going to slit her throat unless she killed first, Merthyr Crown Court heard.

The horror unfolded on the afternoon of May 5 this year, when Radcliffe, armed with a kitchen knife, walked the short journey from her home to the supermarket in Pen Y Graig, Rhondda, South Wales.

The entire incident only lasted a few minutes and was caught on CCTV inside and outside the Co-op supermarket.

The mum-of-one stabbed pipe fitter Andrew Price, 51, before running inside to attack passing nurse Gaynor Saurin, 65, who had tried to stop the assault.

As she stabbed Ms Saurin, Mr Rees, who had been in the store doing his shopping while his 87-year-old wife remained in the car, intervened.

Radcliffe turned on him and knocked him to the ground.

CCTV showed Radcliffe attacking another nurse, Lisa Way, and stabbed her in the neck before going back to Mr Rees who continued to kick out at her.

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Prosecting, Michael Jones QC, told the court he intervened, 'an entirely selfless and brave act which cost him his life'.

Radcliffe then unleashed a 'horrifically violent attack' on him, which was captured on the security footage, and continued until he died.

Mr Jones told the court that Radcliffe picked up a nearby wine bottle and began to hit him repeatedly, once to the chest and three times to the head and face.

When the bottle broke, she picked up another and hit him to the head and face a further 21 times. The mum then picked up a fire extinguisher and 'forcefully' struck the 88-year-old church warden three times to the head with the base of it.

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Police arrived on the scene within minutes and arrested Radcliffe, who said she was hearing voices in her head "telling her to kill someone before she is killed".

She had been suffering from mental illness for more than a decade and only been released from a three-month stay at a psychiatric unit 10 weeks before the horrific attack.

She had not taken her medication due to concerns about side-effects, despite medical notes stating she should not be prescribed them.

Mr Rees's son-in-law, Patrick Davidson Houston, said in a statement read to the court: "We are very proud of the brave actions he took that day, but not surprised, because they are very much in keeping with his character."

She was sentenced to be detained indefinitely under Sections 37 and 41 of the Mental Health Act, having admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility over Mr Rees' death and the attempted murder of three other people.

Mrs Justice Jefford, passing sentence, told Radcliffe: "These restrictions have the effect that you cannot be discharged until a mental health tribunal is satisfied that you do not pose an unacceptable risk to the public, and only with the consent of the Secretary of State."

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