Man on trial over beheading murder

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was murdered in Tenerife

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was murdered in Tenerife

First published in National News © by

The family of a woman who was savagely decapitated on the holiday island of Tenerife has come face to face with her alleged killer.

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was repeatedly stabbed while shopping in the popular resort of Los Cristianos in the Canary Islands, Spain, on May 13 2011.

Her daughters Sarah Mears, 43, and Samantha Gomes, 39, were at the Provincial Court in Santa Cruz for the first day of the trial of Bulgarian man Deyan Deyanov. Deyanov, 29, has denied murdering the grandmother of five inside a Chinese-owned shop on Avenida Juan Carlos I.

As the jury was shown "tough" CCTV footage relating to the attack, Mrs Gomes covered her mouth in horror and stared into the distance. Giving evidence later, Mrs Mears said: "All I want to see is justice done for my mum today."

Francisco 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 of nine to see his client as a "sick man" who had been living in the street without a diagnosis or treatment for his acute schizophrenia. Answering questions in Bulgarian with the help of an interpreter, Deyanov told the court he is haunted by voices which tell him how to act. The defendant said he had been using crack cocaine and LSD before his arrest, but had no memory of living in Tenerife.

Prosecutor Angel Garcia Rodriguez told the court of the moment the frenzied attack took place. Mr Garcia Rodriguez said: "The accused approached Jennifer Mills-Westley, who he did not know and who was shopping, attacking and striking her repeatedly with a knife in her back and neck until she was completely decapitated."

He said the prosecution was seeking for Deyanov to be sentenced to 20 years in a psychiatric unit.

Witness Davide Balsamo described the moment he stumbled upon the horrific scene coming out of a hardware store. He said: "I saw a guy walking around with a head in his hand. I came out of the shop and suddenly I saw him come off the kerb, completely covered in blood. I ran up to him and hit him with all my strength using my motorcycle helmet and knocked him silly."

Mr Balsamo identified the defendant as the man he had struck.

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