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Deyan Valentinov DEYANOV





Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Homeless drug addict - Random attack - Beheading
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 13, 2011
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1983
Victim profile: Jennifer Joan Mills-Westley, 60
Method of murder: Stabbing with a kitchen knife
Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Status: Sentenced to detention in a psychiatric unit for 20 years on February 22, 2013

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Murder of Jennifer Mills-Westley

Jennifer Joan Mills-Westley was murdered on 13 May 2011 in Tenerife.

Her death in a supermarket in the resort of Los Cristianos gained widespread publicity in the United Kingdom, where she was from, and around the world, for the horrific nature of the apparently random attack by a homeless man, who stabbed Mills-Westley in the neck several times and then beheaded her, carrying her severed head out into the street.

Deyan Deyanov, a Bulgarian man, was convicted on 22 February 2013 of the murder and subsequently sentenced to detention in a psychiatric unit for 20 years.


Mills-Westley was a 60-year-old grandmother of five from Norwich, England, who had retired to the Spanish island of Tenerife in 2006. She owned two apartments, each with two bedrooms, on the Port Royale complex in Los Cristianos, one of which she rented to tourists.


Mills-Westley's murder was widely publicised in the British and international media due to its horrific nature, in which a homeless man stabbed and beheaded her in a busy shop on Avenida Juan Carlos in the town centre. Officials said the man appeared to choose his victim at random, then stabbed her in the neck 14 times, beheaded her, and carried her severed head out into the street.

The attack began at around 10:20 am when the man suddenly started stabbing Mills-Westley without warning and with a large knife, possibly a ceremonial samurai sword. He then cut off her head, and carried it out into the street while shouting: "This is my treasure," and "God is on earth." The man threw the head to the ground and was tackled by a security guard before police arrived.


Police later named the suspect as 28-year-old unemployed Bulgarian Deyan Valentinov Deyanov. He was reported to have lived rough in a semi-derelict beach house and had a police record for violence towards strangers in the street. Three months prior to the attack on Mills-Westley, he had been released from a psychiatric unit at the Hospital de la Candelaria after a short stay following an unprovoked attack on a security guard who had been patrolling the seafront at Los Cristianos.

Two days prior to killing Mills-Westley, he was briefly detained by police for harassing women at a nightclub in nearby Playa de las Américas.

Although officials were initially quoted as saying the attack was random, later reports in the British media suggested that Mills-Westley had sought help in a nearby office just before she was murdered, telling staff that she feared she was being followed by a man who was then told to go away by a security guard.

In the years prior to the attack in Los Cristianos, Deyanov was understood to have travelled between Edinburgh and Bradford in the UK, Cyprus and Tenerife, and Flint in north Wales where he had relatives. He had not returned to his family in Ruse, Bulgaria, since stealing family money and possessions to pay for addictions to heroin and gambling. In the summer of 2010 he spent some time in a psychiatric unit at Glan Clwyd hospital in Bodelwyddan, northeast Wales.


Deyanov was detained at a psychiatric unit and charged with murder.

His trial at the provincial court in Santa Cruz began on 18 February 2013 when a court was shown CCTV footage of the attack. Deyanov denied murder, claiming insanity. The trial lasted one week and on 22 February 2013 he was found guilty. He was subsequently sentenced to detention in a psychiatric unit for 20 years, the maximum applicable term.

Speaking after the conviction, Mills-Westley's daughters said in a joint statement that their mother had "become known as the lady who was beheaded in Tenerife, but the truth is she was our mum, mentor and best friend, a highly gifted and selfless person." They described her murder as "preventable and needless" and said there had been a "catalogue of failings" in relation to the handling of Deyanov as a mentally unstable man.


Tenerife Beheading: Killer Gets 20 Years

Bulgarian national Deyan Deyanov is sentenced for killing British grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley in a supermarket

February 28, 2013

Bulgarian national Deyan Deyanov has been sentenced to 20 years in a psychiatric unit for killing British grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley in a supermarket.

The 60-year-old was shopping in the quiet resort of Los Cristianos when she was attacked by the homeless drug addict.

Deyanov had earlier asked a shopkeeper for a "big" knife as he was planning to kill someone.

He then walked into the Mas Articulos Mejor Precios shop where he repeatedly stabbed Ms Mills-Westley,

The 29-year-old Bulgarian then walked out of the shop carrying her head.

His defence had argued that he was not criminally responsible for his actions due to paranoid schizophrenia, but he was found guilty by a jury of nine last week.

When asked by the magistrate if he had anything he wanted to say, Deyanov answered through his interpreter: "I am the second reincarnation of Jesus Christ and I will bring the fire of the Holy Spirit to bear against this court."

A crack cocaine and LSD user, Deyanov was well-known to police and a warrant for his arrest had been issued three days prior to the killing.

Twice sectioned under the Mental Health Act, he had spent time in Glan Clwyd hospital, North Wales, and Tenerife's La Candelaria hospital before being bailed in February 2011.

Road safety officer Ms Mills-Westley had retired to Tenerife in 2009 and owned two apartments in Los Cristianos.

In a statement issued after Deyanov was found guilty, her family said: "Since May 13, 2011, Jennifer Mills-Westley has become known as the lady who was beheaded in Tenerife.

"The truth is she was our mum, our mentor and our best friend.

"She was a highly gifted, selfless person with so much love in her heart and who has been taken away from us in her prime."


'Why was monster freed to murder our mother?' Family's agony as it emerges drug addict was released from secure unit months before killing British expat

February 22, 2013

The family of a British grandmother beheaded in Tenerife has demanded to know why her killer was released from a UK psychiatric unit only months before her barbaric murder.

Speaking yesterday after Bulgarian drug addict Deyan Deyanov was found guilty of murdering Jennifer Mills-Westley in May 2011, her daughters said the tragedy was ‘avoidable’ and their mother had been let down by a ‘catalogue of failings’.

Deyanov, 29, a homeless Bulgarian, faces up to 20 years in a secure psychiatric unit. He killed Mrs Mills-Westley, 60, then ran through the streets carrying her head.

A paranoid schizophrenic, he had been allowed to leave a specialist unit in Wales seven months earlier.

The victim’s daughter Sarah, 43, read a statement on behalf of her and sister Samantha, 39, outside the Spanish court, saying: ‘It’s hard to put into words the devastating impact that this preventable and needless act has had on us as a family, sadly Mum was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

‘Lessons must be learnt from this tragic event to ensure justice is done for our mum and to ensure that no other family has to be subjected to this ordeal. It is clear to us that there has been a catalogue of failings.’

‘We will be asking the Welsh health authority to carry out a full inquiry.’

Drug-user Deyanov was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and admitted to Glan Clwyd Hospital’s Ablett Psychiatric Unit in North Wales in summer 2010.

But he left the unit in October that year and moved to Tenerife, where his drug use and mental health problems worsened.

There was a warrant out for his arrest three days before the murder but police failed to locate him.

Asked if there was anything he wanted to say after the verdict was read out, Deyanov then declared to a hushed courtroom: 'I am the second reincarnation of Jesus Christ and I will bring the fire of the Holy Spirit to bear against this court.'

He carried out the attack in the popular resort of Los Cristianos on May 13, 2011 in a shopping centre that was already bustling with tourists of all nationalities.

The mother of two who split her time between homes in Tenerife and Norwich, Norfolk, was picked at random after voices in Deyanov's head ordered him to kill, the court heard.

But despite his schizophrenia, the jury found that Deyanov was guilty of murder under Spanish law because he took his victim by surprise and she could not defend herself.

Wearing an olive green hoodie, black tracksuit trousers and running shoes, Deyanov remained quiet and still as the verdict was read out.

The victim's daughters Samantha, 39, and Sarah, 43, have attended the entire trial of their mother's killer since it began on Monday. They were accompanied by Sarah’s partner Brian Moore, 41, the victim’s brother John Smith, 63, and sister-in-law, Julie Smith, 62.

Reading the statement outside court, Sarah Mills-Westley, who lives in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France said: 'Despite our expectations, we have been disappointed by the lack of any other support - notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our mum's MP in her hometown of Norwich.

'Whilst today closes one chapter, we will have to live with the painful consequences for the rest of our lives.

'We ask that we are now granted privacy after an extremely difficult and emotional week.'

Asked if the family would talk to authorities in the UK to find out why Deyanov was released from hospital in Wales, she said: 'We will be asking the Welsh Health Authority to conduct a full inquiry into what happened in particular around his treatment in the UK.'

Ms Mills-Westley said the care of people like Deyanov should be taken more seriously.

She said: 'Since the May 13 2011, Jennifer Mills-Westley has become known as the lady who was beheaded in Tenerife.

'The truth is she was our mum, our mentor and our best friend.

'She was a highly gifted, selfless person with so much love in her heart and who has been taken away from us in her prime.

'It’s hard to put into words the devastating impact that this preventable and needless act has had on us as a family - sadly mum was in the wrong place at the wrong time.'

The family thanked the jury of nine for sitting through the harrowing trial.

She added: 'But while today sees the conclusion of the legal process, lessons must be learnt from this tragic event to ensure justice is done for our mum and to ensure that no other family has to be subjected to this ordeal.

'It is clear to us that there has been a catalogue of failings - unfortunately it is now left to us to piece these together as we still have so many unanswered questions.

'We would like to make a plea that the care of people like Deyan Valentinov Deyanov is taken more seriously.

'He is a young man who has clearly been failed by a number of authorities, in the UK, Spain and most likely others.'

Deyanov, who earlier claimed in court to be 'an angel of Jesus Christ', had denied murder, claiming security camera footage of him carrying out the gruesome murder was 'a montage'.

Answering questions in Bulgarian with the help of an interpreter, Deyanov also told the court he is haunted by voices which tell him how to act.

He claimed they were telling him he was 'an angel of Jesus Christ who is going to create a new Jerusalem', adding: 'They direct how I act, sometimes they say kill, fight, hit, pray.'

Prosecutor Angel Garcia Rodriguez asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years in a secure psychiatric ward to be imposed.

Defence lawyer Francisco Beltran said the former timeshare dealer should get the minimum sentence of 15 years, saying Deyanov was 'a sick man who requires help'.

He has blamed Spanish authorities for the murder, telling the court: 'He might as well have been carrying a sign saying "I'm a bomb and I could explode at any moment",' defence lawyer Francisco Beltran said.

'Responsibility must fall to some extent with the health authorities in the Canary Islands,' he added.

'My client is a sick man, not a criminal, and he should have been diagnosed and treated.

'Why was he not diagnosed and treated properly? He was suffering from acute paranoid schizophrenia. Why was he released?'

Deyanov, a Bulgarian immigrant who took crack cocaine and LSD, was arrested several times for outbursts of violence in the months leading up to the murder.

After one arrest he was admitted on January 18 in 2011 to a psychiatric unit at the island's Candalaria hospital.

But he was released on February 4, despite suffering from serious mental health problems.

Earlier the jury heard Deyanov killed her by slashing her throat from behind with the knife, meant for cutting Spanish ham.

She died within seconds but he then spent up to five minutes removing her head, a pathologist said.

Angel Perez Martinez told the jury Deyanov used 'great force' to sever the head with 'a practically uncountable number of cuts. It is very difficult to remove a head with a knife of this sort,' he said.

'It would have taken minutes - three, four, five minutes.'

Mrs Mills-Westley also had cuts on her hands where she had tried in vain to fight off her attacker, he said.

Deyanov's DNA was also found under her fingernails, the court heard.

Judge Maria Jesus Garcia Sanchez will sentence Deyanov, the son of a millionaire former communist party chief, at a later date.

Deyanov had denied murder. His defence had argued he was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers acute paranoid schizophrenia.

He faces a sentence of 15 to 20 years in a psychiatric unit. Deyanov’s sentence will be announced in a written statement in the coming weeks.

His victim, a retired road safety worker originally from Norwich, was attacked while she was in a Chinese-owned general store near the beach.

That morning, Deyanov had walked into another shop and asked for a knife 'this big' because he was going to kill someone.

At 10.30am he went into the Mas Articulos Mejor Precios shop on Avenida Juan Carlos I, picked up a 22cm-long knife and plunged it repeatedly into Ms Mills-Westley's neck.

He then walked out carrying her head, to the horror of onlookers, before being wrestled to the ground and arrested.

Living rough in Los Cristianos, the crack cocaine and LSD user was well-known to police on the island and had been arrested at least four times since January 2011 for violent offences.

A warrant for his arrest had been issued just three days before the killing but officers were unable to locate him.

He had previously been sectioned in the summer of 2010 under the Mental Health Act in Glan Clwyd Hospital, North Wales, and again at Tenerife's La Candelaria hospital before being bailed in early February 2011.


Tenerife Beheading: Court Shown CCTV Footage

A Bulgarian man denies murdering a 60-year-old British woman decapitated in a shop, saying he is suffering from schizophrenia

February 18, 2013

The family of British woman who was decapitated in a supermarket in Tenerife have seen CCTV footage of the attack for the first time.

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was stabbed and decapitated with a nine-inch carving knife in the popular resort of Los Cristianos on May 13, 2011.

Bulgarian Deyan Deyanov, who is homeless, has denied murder and told the court he is haunted by voices telling him how to act.

The defence has said he is suffering from "acute schizophrenia".

After watching the CCTV footage, Deyanov said it was "a montage, a film" and claimed he did not recognise himself in the images.

Ms Mills-Westley's daughters, Sarah Mears, 43, and Samantha Gomes, 39, were in court as the footage was shown. Mrs Gomes covered her mouth in horror.

Giving evidence, Mrs Mears explained that in the months before her death, her mother had become worried about safety on the island.

"It was nothing specific but she was increasingly concerned that Tenerife was not as safe as when we used to visit 30 years ago," she said.

Mrs Mears added: "All I want to see is justice done for my mum today."

Ms Mills-Westley, who is originally from Norwich, had been living in Tenerife after retiring from her job as a road safety officer with Norfolk County Council.

Deyanov is alleged to have walked into another shop before the attack to ask for a large knife.

The court was told that after killing Ms Mills-Westley, the 29-year-old was apparently heard saying "God is on earth" before he was captured by security guards as he ran out of the store holding her head.

The jury was shown two knives allegedly used in the attack. Both were 22cm long and one was visibly bent and bloodied.

Franciso Beltran, for the defence, told the jury his client was in "total disagreement" with the charge of murder against him.

"He has committed no crime, and it goes without saying that he has not committed the crime of murder," Mr Beltran said.

He asked the jury see his client as a "sick man" who had been living on the streets without a diagnosis or treatment for his acute schizophrenia.

Deyanov claimed the voices were telling him he was "an angel of Jesus Christ who is going to create a new Jerusalem".

"They direct how I act, sometimes they say kill, fight, hit, pray," he said.

The defendant said he had been using crack cocaine and LSD before his arrest, but had no memory of living in Tenerife.

Asked if he knew he was on the island after being brought there from a psychiatric unit in Seville on the Spanish mainland, he said: "I have just found out."

He also denied that he had lived in Wales, where he was sectioned in the summer of 2010 under the Mental Health Act at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

Last week Ms Mears and Mrs Gomes said they were attending the trial in order to come "face to face" with the killer and hope to banish memories which have been "shrouded by the brutality of her death".

The trial is expected to conclude on February 25.


Tenerife beheading: killer copied Predator film

The man accused of beheading a British grandmother on the holiday island of Tenerife last Friday was obsessed with the sci-fi film Predator and its decapitations, a friend claimed

May 17, 2011

Deyan Deyanov, 28, enjoyed the way the alien creature hunted and beheaded its victims and had tattoos of characters from its fictional language on his right arm.

Deyanov hacked to death Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, in a supermarket after the Spanish legal system had released him from a psychiatric unit on bail, despite police warning he was a danger to the public.

After an unprovoked attack on a security guard, a warrant was issued for his arrest but he killed before he was found.

It has emerged that the homeless Bulgarian, who was a habitual cannabis smoker, made a short video on his mobile phone four years ago in which he said: "I don't like human beings."

After cutting off Mrs Mills-Westley's head, Deyanov reportedly paraded it through the street.

On May 10 magistrate Nelson Diaz Frias had issued a warrant for the arrest of Deyan Deyanov, 28, after he failed to meet bail conditions following an attack in which he bashed out his victim's front teeth with a rock.

The unprovoked assault on a night security guard patrolling the beach front in the popular resort of Los Cristianos took place on January 4.

When Deyanov was arrested for that crime he boasted to police that he was "a prophet of God on earth" and was "planning something big".

According to a local source a police report labelled him as "a dangerous individual who should be kept off the streets".

He was sent to a psychiatric unit at the Nuestra Senora de Candalaria hospital in the island's capital Santa Cruz but was later released on bail, a decision made by the magistrate after consulting doctors.

The Bulgarian was supposed to report to the court every fortnight but failed to show up and the magistrate of Court of Instruction number four in Arona issued the arrest warrant on May 10.

But police failed to locate the man, a habitual drug user who gave his address as the harbour-side promenade of the busy resort.

In fact, he regularly spent the night in a derelict building on the beach in front of the promenade and was well known in the area for his aggressive behaviour towards tourists.

Jose Albert Gonzalez Reveron, the mayor of Arona, the municipal area that includes Los Cristianos, said more efforts should have been made to detain Deyanov.

"This person was well known to police and had been involved in very many altercations," he said.

"I don't dare to talk about police negligence, but everyone would like him to have been detained earlier. He should have been in a psychiatric hospital."

Manuel Reveron, councillor for security at the town hall, said: "Police were actively searching for Deyanov but they were unable to locate him because he had no fixed address.

"In my opinion he should not have been released from the psychiatric hospital following the earlier attack."

"We carried out our obligations and we handed him over to the court, we don't know what happened next. If it had been dealt with differently this terrible crime could have been avoided."

A spokesman for the Nuestra Senora de Candelaria hospital confirmed that Deyanov had been a patient but refused to comment further citing confidentiality reasons.

Deyanov appeared before investigating magistrate Carmen Rosa del Pino at the Court of Instruction number two in Arona on Saturday night, provisionally charged with murder.

He is being held in the psychiatric unit of Tenerife II prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

The body of Mrs Mills-Westley, who had lived on the island for at least ten years, is expected to be repatriated to the UK this week.

The retired road safety officer was a mother of two daughters and had five grandchildren.


Graffiti, beer cans and a makeshift shrine to Jesus: Inside the sordid squat of killer who beheaded grandmother in Tenerife shop

May 16, 2011

The maniac who decapitated a British grandmother and paraded her head through the streets of Tenerife lived in squalor in a filthy derelict squat.

Bulgarian Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, 28, shared the ramshackle one-storey house on Los Cristianos beach with a group of squatters.

The foul property stank of urine and was littered with old mattresses and empty beer cans.

Inside there was a peculiar shrine to Jesus which had been made out of breeze block - and there was a charred copy of the bible.

The 28-year-old who killed grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, would walk round the popular tourist town shouting that he had been ‘sent by God to carry out his justice on earth,’ residents said.

He was today remanded in custody by a Spanish court.

His filthy residence was cluttered with boxes and had graffiti daubed on the walls which had their paint flaking off.

Squatters had to step over the sleeping Bulgarian to bed down for the night.

According to locals, his behaviour had become increasingly terrifying in recent days and he had been shouting at tourists.

A woman calling herself Fabiana, who works at the Miami Beach Bar, said: ‘Everybody knew he was crazy. He used to stand on the beach here shouting imaginary conversations with God.

‘He was getting worse and worse, really scaring people over the past few days. He would say to people, “I am God and I’m going to strike you down. I’m going to destroy you”.’

A bar owner, whose business overlooks the building, said: ‘The house is truly disgusting and the squatters should be thrown out.

‘The Bulgarian has been living there with some other homeless people for some time. We’ve said for a long time the local authorities should throw them out.’

He had been following grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley, from Norwich, Norfolk, in the minutes before she was murdered.

Police believe Deyanov picked his victim completely at random.

Tragically, the retired road safety officer thought she had got away from him when he struck as she walked into a supermarket.

She asked for help in a social security office in the busy Los Cristianos resort.

Staff said she was in tears and looked frightened. But she left after security guards checked the street and said the coast was clear.

Deyanov stabbed her 14 times in the neck with a kitchen knife before running out with her severed head. The blade was found in a bag Deyanov was carrying when he was tackled and overpowered a few minutes later.

A source at the National Police in Tenerife said: ‘We have been told Deyanov was following his victim on Friday morning, that she went into a social security office asking for help and saying she was very scared.

‘She waited in the office until he disappeared. She walked into the Chinese-owned shop nearby and he followed her in.’

The police source said her killer than grabbed a large kitchen knife from a shelf and stabbed her at least 14 times in the neck without saying a word.

‘Eventually he managed to sever her head completely, he picked it up and ran out of the shop,’ he said, adding it was ‘without doubt one of the most gruesome crimes we have seen in Tenerife’.

Ms Mills-Westley had Spanish residency and lived in Tenerife but often travelled to Norfolk and France to visit her daughters and grandchildren.

Her ex-husband Peter, who now lives in Ireland, said his former wife was ‘a wonderful woman, a brilliant mother and I loved her very dearly’.

One of her two daughters, Sarah Mears, a business consultant who lives with her husband Barry near Norwich, said the family was devastated.

She said in a statement that her mother was ‘fully enjoying her retirement’. She added: ‘She was full of life, generous of heart, would do anything for anyone.

‘We now have to find some way of living without her love and light.’

Ms Mills-Westley’s other daughter, Samantha Gomes, is understood to live in the Midi-Pyrenees area of France.

Deyanov is said to have had a history of violent crimes. In February he was released from a psychiatric hospital following an earlier random attack in Los Cristianos.

Deyanov was last night being held in a police station at the nearby resort of Playa de las Americas. He is expected to appear before a magistrate on Monday.

The police source said: ‘For all intents and purposes the police investigation has already finished. There were witnesses and we found the bloodied knife in a bag at his side when he was arrested. We have taken CCTV footage from the shop.’

Ms Mills-Westley owns two first-floor flats worth £240,000 in Port Royale, a whitewashed, hilltop development of 300 flats overlooking the sea and the port of Los Cristianos. She rented one of the flats out to holidaymakers.

Coleen Rooney’s family have a flat just half a mile from Ms Mills-Westley’s apartment.

Frank Clydesdale, the chairman of the residents’ committee, said: ‘She was a charming lady, a joy to know.

‘This is the kind of place where you don’t stick your nose into other people’s business but you always say hello and have a chat.

‘She has been here a long time and always been very nice. It’s just such a dreadful thing.’

Norfolk County Council said Ms Mills-Westley had worked as a road safety officer there until about 15 years ago.

A spokesman said she had been a ‘popular and well respected’ member of staff and had worked with many schools and children to teach cycling safety.

Yesterday the shop where Ms Mills-Westley was murdered, named Shung, had reopened and was still selling a selection of large kitchen knives including cleavers.


Judge detains man accused of beheading UK woman

May 15, 2011

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."


Deyan Deyanov (28) decapitated a random woman in a supermarket and fled with her head

May 17, 2011

A deranged knifeman decapitated a British woman in a supermarket on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife on Friday and fled with her head, media said.

The man, said to be a 28-year-old vagrant known in the area, apparently picked his victim at random in a Chinese supermarket, said media quoting witnesses and the national police.

The man, of Bulgarian nationality, was caught while fleeing, according to online newspapers and radio reports, which could not be immediately confirmed by the police.

"A man came running up with something full of blood in his hand and a private security guard behind him, and he threw it on the ground and it almost hit me," a witness named only as Bernardo told Cadena Ser radio.

"What he had in his hand was a head."

The victim was reportedly a 60-year-old British woman who worked in the supermarket in the tourist spot of Los Cristianos beach in Arona on the southern side of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands.

The attacker shouted out: "God is on Earth," according to local news site, quoting Arona's mayor, Jose Alberto Gonzalez Reveron.

The attacker lived in a "semi-abandoned" house, the mayor said.

Canary Islands political representative Dominica Fernandez was quoted by the news site as saying that the killer was disturbed and had chosen his victim at random.

Spain's main daily El Pais said the attack occurred at 10:30 am (08:30 GMT) in the supermarket, which forms part of the Valdes Centre shopping centre of Arona.

The attacker had a record of arrests for assault and was detained by police as he struggled to escape from a security guard, the paper said. The killer did not speak to his victim, it added.

Other news reports said the man had been in a psychiatric hospital for violence.

In London, a Foreign Office official said it had been informed of the attack. "We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Tenerife and are urgently investigating," she said.

Tenerife is home to around one million residents and one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations.


British woman beheaded in Tenerife supermarket

Man ran into supermarket on Spanish island, grabbed knife, killed woman then rushed out carrying head

By Giles Tremlett and Karen McVeigh -

May 13, 2011

A man has killed and beheaded a British woman in a supermarket on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

The suspect, a 28-year-old unemployed Bulgarian man, attacked the unnamed 60-year-old woman with a knife and then fled into the street with the severed head in his hands, according to eyewitnesses. Police have identified the alleged killer as Deyan Valentinov D., but have not released a surname.

Colin Kirby, a reporter for Tenerife Magazine, explained what he had seen as he walked past the shop, in Los Cristianos, Arona, which is situated on the southern point of the island at around 10.30 am.

He said he had spoken to an English couple who were in the shop at around 10.30am when the incident happened.

"They said this guy just walked in, pulled a big knife and started stabbing at her."

He added: "I didn't see the attack but I saw the guy. I was walking past the commercial centre and I saw a small group of people outside. There was a guy from the medical centre going down the ramp and I thought perhaps someone had fainted.

"I heard people shouting and screaming and making a commotion. A Hispanic looking guy, very scruffy, was walking behind me muttering to himself, carrying what I thought was a joke head by the hair, with blood.

"It made me think of Clash of The Titans, gorgons. I thought … it's a joke'. The man was in his late 20s … He was a bit dishevelled, unwashed, he was wearing a jumper and trousers, when everyone else is wearing shorts. Even at 10.30 in the morning, it's boiling."

Kirby said that the man ran off as security guards and others chased after him.

"Security guards rushed from the shop where he'd been, chased him across the road and by this time he was pinned to the floor. By this time he was empty-handed and was on the other side of the road."

"The security and the police had to hold people off – they were queueing up – they were trying basically to kick the hell out of the guy."

Los Cristianos has a large expat British community.

A witness told the radio broadcaster Cadena Ser that he saw the man drop the head on the pavement after coming out of the shop.

"I parked my car and saw a man running out with something bloody in his hands and a security guard chasing him. He threw it to the ground. It almost hit me.

"What he had been carrying was a woman's head."

Araceli Perez, 33, who works for Ocean Properties, said the victim was British but of Chinese ancestry. "[The killer] was running away with her head in his hands," she said. Tenerife media were saying the killer had previous convictions for violence, she added.

The Foreign Office said that not all the woman's family had been informed and they could not comment other than to confirm that she had died. "We are aware that a British national has died in Tenerife," it said.

José Alberto González, the mayor, said the attack did not appear to be premeditated and had been recorded on the supermarket's security cameras. A regional interior ministry delegate, Dominica Fernández, said the suspect was believed to have entered the shop and stolen a knife, which he then used to behead the woman. The attack appeared to be random.

Police are investigating to see if the victim and the killer knew one another.



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