Beheaded UK woman named as Jennifer Mills-Westley
- 14 May 2011
- From the section UK
The British woman stabbed and beheaded in a shop on the Spanish island of Tenerife has been named by her family as 60-year-old Jennifer Mills-Westley.
Her daughter Sarah said she was "full of life, generous of heart and would do anything for anyone".
She said her mother was enjoying her retirement, travelling between Tenerife and France and visiting her other daughter in Norfolk.
Spanish media said a Bulgarian man, 28, was arrested in Los Cristianos.
Witnesses said a man entered a Chinese supermarket in a shopping centre and stabbed then beheaded her, before dropping the head outside.
He appeared to choose his victim at random, according to a local official.
Ms Mills-Westley's daughter Sarah said: "Mum retired a number of years ago and was fully enjoying her retirement travelling between Tenerife and France where she spent time visiting her daughter and grandchildren, and her other daughter in Norfolk.
"She was full of life, generous of heart, 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."
Ms Mills-Westley, a grandmother of five from Norwich, 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.
"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.
"Apparently this gentleman without any motive or any reason... entered the shop and then cut this woman's neck and took the head in his hand outside," said local councillor Manuel Reveron.
A security guard then managed to wrestle the man to the ground, he said.
"I parked my car and saw a man running out with something bloody in his hands and a security guard chasing him," one witness was quoted as telling local radio.
"He threw it to the ground, it almost hit me and what he had been carrying was a woman's head."
In a video posted on YouTube, Colin Kirby of Tenerifemagazine.com said security guards held down the suspect until the police arrived.
"The security and the police had to hold people off - they were queuing up - they were trying basically to kick the hell out of the guy," he said.
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."
Police sources told Spanish media the suspect had a police record.
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."