Women Admits Killing Man Near Acton Town Hall

Rhian Beresford enters manslaughter plea from secure psychiatric unit

Stefan Melnyk
Stefan Melnyk



South Acton Woman Charged With Murder

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A 29-year-old woman from South Acton has admitted killing one man and attacking another with a knife earlier this year.

Rhian Beresford, previously of Hope Gardens, ran down 54-year-old Stefan Melnyk with her car on Salisbury Street behind the Everyone Active Leisure centre on at 12.50pm on 22 March. She then got out of the car and stabbed passer-by 39-year-old George Pantazi.

Mr Melnyk, who lived locally, was rushed to hospital but died the following day. He was a bus driver and union activist of Ukrainian heritage. His father, who was taken to France by the Germans during the Second World War, escaped after the Allies landed at Normandy. He actively supported the work of the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.

Mr Pantazi was treated at the scene by paramedics but his injuries were described as being not serious.

Rhian Beresford was detained at the scene and remanded in custody.

Salisbury Street, Acton
Salisbury Street, Acton. Picture: Google Streetview

A pre-trial hearing at the Old Bailey was told that she had previously been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. She entered a not guilty plea to a murder charge on the grounds of diminished responsibility admitting only to manslaughter. She denied attempting to murder Mr Pantazi but pleaded guilty to wounding him with intent.

The plea was made by video link from a secure psychiatric unit.

The Crown Prosecutor accepted the plea after consulting with the family of Mr Melnyk and Mr Pantazi.


December 30, 2020


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