Churchwarden suffered horrific facial fractures as he was battered to death at village Co-op, inquest hears

A CHURCH warden died after suffering multiple facial fractures in an attack when he went inside a village Co-op store, an inquest heard today.

John Rees, 88, died while shopping at the store during lockdown as his wife Eunice, 87, waited in the car.

Zara Anne Radcliffe, 29, has been charged with Mr Rees' murder as well as the attempted murder of three others injured in the incident in the village of Pen Y Graig, Rhondda, South Wales, last Tuesday.

Mr Rees' inquest was today opened and adjourned pending the outcome of court proceedings involving Radcliffe.

Coroner's officer Lauren Howitt told the inquest in Pontypridd: "Mr Rees was shopping with his wife, who remained in a car outside the shop. Whilst at the store Mr Rees was attacked by a female not known to him.

"He sadly passed away at the scene as a result of of his injuries."

Pathologist Dr Richard Jones, from the University Hospital of Wales, provided a provisional cause of death for Mr Rees as severe blunt force trauma to the face including multiple facial fractures, pending a toxicology assessment.

Coroner Graeme Hughes said: "I have received communication from the Crown Prosecution Service indicating that, as we just heard, charges in relation to a homicide offence have been levied against an individual, and I have been requested to adjourn my investigation pending the conclusion of those criminal proceedings."

Mr Hughes said he passed his condolences to Mr Rees' family and suspended the inquest.

Radcliffe, from Porth, did not enter a plea at her last hearing at Cardiff Crown Court earlier this week, and remains in custody with a provisional trial date listed for October.

Church warden Mr Rees was described as "the very definition of a good man, extremely respected and liked in the community" by his family.

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