London

Beheading accused Nicholas Salvador 'killed Palmira Silva during rampage'

Palmira Silva Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Palmira Silva ran a cafe near Edmonton Green station and was an active member of the community

An elderly woman was beheaded by a man who went on a rampage in north London, the Old Bailey has heard.

Palmira Silva, 82, was in her garden when she was attacked by Nicholas Salvador who stabbed and beheaded her, prosecutors said.

The court heard he was armed with a wooden pole and machete and was arrested following a violent struggle in which he was tasered six times.

The 25-year-old from Enfield denies murder by reason of insanity.

'Demonic cats'

Prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told the jury the killing happened three days after Mr Salvador had lost his job, and there was no dispute he killed her.

He said at the time of the killing, on the afternoon of 4 September last year, the defendant was living three doors away from Mrs Silva in Nightingale Road.

Image copyright @Redbutdred
Image caption Twitter user @Redbutdred took this photo near to the scene of the incident on Nightingale Road

On the day of the attack the defendant armed himself and beheaded two of his hosts' cats, because he thought they were "demons", the court heard.

He then made his way through a few back gardens, smashed his way into a house and then attacked a car containing two members of the family he was living with.

'Chaotic struggle'

Mr Salvador then leapt over a wall into Mrs Silva's garden where she was repeatedly stabbed before being beheaded, the court heard.

It was said Mr Salvador believed he was killing a supernatural entity in the guise of Hitler back from the dead, or a demon who had taken the form of a little old lady, Mr Rees said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A number of police forensic officers attended the scene

The prosecutor told the jury the defendant ran off and was arrested in the front room of another house following a "violent and chaotic struggle" with police in which he was tasered multiple times and kicked and punched, but to little effect. He had shown signs of mental illness, repeating phrases such as "red is the colour" and "I am the king."

One eyewitness had described how, before the attack, he looked like a headless chicken and appeared to be searching for more cats to kill, the court heard.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Palmira Silva came to Britain from Italy in 1953

In the weeks before the attack, Mr Salvador had shown signs of "odd behaviour" and developed an interest in "shapeshifters" - supernatural entities that can transform into another being or form.

After being charged the 25-year-old was remanded in custody at Belmarsh prison before being moved to high-security Broadmoor Hospital due to his mental illness.

Mr Rees said that psychiatrists would give evidence that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Mrs Silva came to Britain from Italy in 1953 and ran a cafe with her husband. She had two children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Mr Salvador also denies a charge of assault by actual bodily harm by reason of insanity and assaulting a police officer after Pc Bernard Hamilton, received a leg injury which needed hospital treatment.

The case continues.

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