Cardiff van rampage leaves city in shock

Police hold man, 31, and appeal for witnesses after woman is killed and 14 others injured

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The Independent Online

Detectives were questioning a 31-year-old man last night on suspicion of killing the mother of a disabled child and injuring 14 others in a hit-and-run rampage in Cardiff.

As they continued their investigation, police also appealed for anyone who saw a black Renault Clio driving on the wrong side of the road shortly before events unfolded. It was unclear last night whether the car was linked to later incidents in which a white van careered into pedestrians, killing one of them.

The dead woman was named yesterday as Karina Menzies. She was walking her two young daughters home from school when witnesses saw a white van career on to the pavement straight at her. The 32-year-old was mown down outside a fire station in the Ely area of west Cardiff, close to her home.

Yesterday, scores of people paid their respects to Ms Menzies on social networking sites, and floral tributes were laid where she was killed. The local Labour MP, Kevin Brennan, said the mother of three had been killed while her disabled daughter was on a "dream holiday" in Florida. "It's absolutely shocking what has happened, and the fact that someone has appeared to use a vehicle as a weapon. Karina was a well-liked mother," he said.

Detective Superintendent Paul Hurley, of South Wales Police, confirmed yesterday that the driver of the vehicle had also assaulted people with a weapon, believed to be a steering-wheel security lock. The officer said: "We are aware the suspect assaulted people outside his vehicle." He said police were "looking to identify and recover" the weapon.

The terrifying scenes that unfolded on Cardiff's streets began at around 3.30pm on Friday afternoon when police received calls about a Clio car being driven on the wrong side of a road. This was soon followed by reports of collisions in several locations, including Grand Avenue, Cowbridge Road West and the Leckwith Retail Park in west Cardiff.

Witnesses said they saw "at least seven ambulances" and scores of police vehicles in the Ely area at the height of the incidents.

Sub-postmaster Shady Taha, 29, had served two young girls moments before one of the incidents, on Grand Avenue, Ely. "I suddenly heard a bang. I looked out and, across the road, one girl was on the floor and the other girl was screaming. I heard a van speed off but I did not see it."

According to police, of the nine casualties still receiving treatment last night, two remained in a critical condition in intensive care and five were children, with the youngest reported to be just two years old.

Det Supt Hurley appealed for any witnesses who saw the white van or the Renault Clio to come forward.