BBC Home > BBC News > UK

Judge detains man accused of beheading UK woman

15 May 11 22:23
The suspect is wrestled to the ground. Pic: Caters News Agency

A Bulgarian man accused of stabbing and beheading a UK woman in a shop on Tenerife has been detained in prison.

Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, 28, was sent to jail by a judge on Sunday following his arrest on suspicion of killing Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60.

A note issued by the court said he should have no possibility of bail.

Mrs Mills-Westley, originally from Norfolk, had sought help minutes before the attack in Los Cristianos on Friday, according to media reports.

The Sunday Times said she told staff in an employment centre she was being followed and security guards told a man to go away.

'Absolutely devastating'

Thinking he had disappeared, the grandmother-of-five then walked to a nearby shop where she was stabbed before being beheaded, the paper said.

The Daily Telegraph website reports that the man accused of killing her was ordered to be detained in a psychiatric unit.

One of Mrs Mills-Westley's two daughters, Sarah, said she was "full of life, generous of heart and would do anything for anyone".

"We now have to find a way of living without her love and light and we would ask at this difficult time for some privacy as we try to come to terms with our loss," she said.

She said her mother was enjoying her retirement, travelling between Tenerife and France and visiting her other daughter in Norfolk.

Ms Mills-Westley retired to Tenerife after working as a road safety officer at Norfolk County Council.

Leader of the council Derrick Murphy said the news was "absolutely devastating" for those who used to work with her.

"We offer our sincere and deepest sympathies to Jenny's friends and family, in particularly her two daughters and five grandchildren," he said.

Silent attack

"As you can imagine, the terrible news obviously has come as a great shock to us... she was an incredibly well-respected member of the staff."

Ms Mills-Westley's former neighbour, Stella Watts, said she was a "kind, lovely lady" who used to take her to hospital to visit her sick partner.

Local officials have been analysing CCTV footage of the attack which shows a man walking into the supermarket - which sells Chinese food and tourist souvenirs.

Witnesses said the man attacked the woman without saying a word.

Local councillor Manuel Reveron said: "The man entered the shop and then cut this woman's neck and took the head in his hand outside,"

A security guard then managed to wrestle the man to the ground, he said.

In a video posted on YouTube, Colin Kirby of said security guards held down the suspect until the police arrived.

Christina Perez, a legal representative at a nearby court, said she and her colleagues ran indoors for safety.

"Everybody is shocked. It's a very safe area. You can usually go anywhere you want in the day or at night. This is really not normal."

Dominica Fernandez, of the Regional Interior Ministry, said the attack appeared to be random and that the suspect was well known in the area.

Regional newspaper La Opinion said the suspect had received treatment at the psychiatric unit of a local hospital in February after being involved in previous violent incidents.

The BBC's Maddy Savage said this kind of violence was extremely rare in the Canary Islands which attract more than 10 million tourists each year.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in touch with the next of kin and are providing consular assistance.

"Consular officials in Tenerife are in contact with local authorities about this tragic incident and our condolences go out to the family at this difficult time."

Share this

Related BBC sites