A Bulgarian drug addict who beheaded a British grandmother in a frenzied knife attack on the holiday island of Tenerife was yesterday found guilty of murder.
Homeless Deyan Deyanov, 29, was convicted by a jury of nine at the Provincial Court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
He repeatedly stabbed and beheaded Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, who had been shopping in the popular resort of Los Cristianos on May 13, 2011.
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.
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.
The jury found that Deyanov was guilty of murder because he took his victim by surprise and she could not defend herself.
Even though he was suffering schizophrenia and his responsibility was diminished, in Spanish law he is guilty of murder.
Deyanov remained quiet and still as the verdict was read out. Asked by magistrate Maria Jesus Garcia Sanchez if he had anything he wanted to say, he told his Bulgarian interpreter: “I am the the second reincarnation of Jesus Christ and I will bring the fire of the Holy Spirit to bear against this court.”
Prosecutor Angel Garcia Rodriguez asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years in a secure psychiatric ward to be imposed on Deyanov.
Francisco Beltran, for the defence, asked that his client receive the minimum sentence of 15 years.
Ms Mills-Westley’s relatives remained calm as the verdict was read out.
Younger daughter Samantha Mills-Westley, 39, who lives in the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, wore sunglasses and cried before going into the court.
Also in attendance were her sister Sarah Mills-Westley, 43, from Norwich, Sarah’s partner Brian Moore, 41, the victim’s brother John Smith, 63, and sister-in-law, Julie Smith, 62.
In a joint statement issued through charity Missing Abroad, they said attending the trial had been “incredibly hard on us” and said it “has reiterated the horror of mum’s death”.
They 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.”