A PENSIONER was beheaded in broad daylight in a suburban back garden, sparking a police operation in which a suspect was tasered.
Palmira Silva, 82, who is believed to be of Italian descent, was found dead outside a house in Edmonton, north London, yesterday.
Scotland Yard said that while formal identification has yet to take place, its officers were satisfied that she was the victim discovered in Nightingale Road.
A 25-year-old man was tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene by armed officers, some of whom were injured in a struggle. He was under guard in hospital last night.
Scotland Yard said it was also investigating an attempted attack on two people at another house in the road before Ms Silva was killed. A spokesman said: “At this stage we believe they were both able to get out of the house without injury.”
The house in the busy street where Ms Silva’s body was found was the scene of a major police operation.
Scotland Yard revealed that its officers distracted the suspect after he was seen going through back gardens in Nightingale Road to prevent him attacking anyone else while they evacuated people from nearby homes.
Neighbours described the terrifying scene as events unfolded. Restaurant worker Freda Odame, 30, said she was about to go to sleep after working a night shift when she heard a commotion at around 1pm.
She said: “I heard shouting and banging and I opened my curtains and saw a guy holding a knife in a back garden a few doors along.
“He was screaming, I couldn’t make out the words.
“I could see he seemed aggressive. He looked a bit frantic.”
She said the man, who was dressed all in black, was waving a weapon around towards the ground. “It was like he was looking for something on the floor,” she said.
“I was shaking and I just shut the curtains. I was worried he might see me.
“Then the police knocked on the door and said: ‘You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out’.”
Another neighbour, Muhammed Yusuf, described the moment police knocked on his door. “They just said: ‘You’ve got to get out of the house’. Of course I was worried,” he said.
His son Ahmed, 19, added: “At first there were two police cars, then all of a sudden there were 20. The police said to drop everything. I said: ‘What’s going on?’ and they said there’s a guy jumping over gardens.”
Last night local residents were still waiting to be allowed back in their homes and the road remained cordoned off as forensics officers continued their work.
Scotland Yard said the incident is not believed to be terror-related, and its homicide and major crime command is leading the investigation. Ms Silva’s next of kin are being helped by specially trained officers.