May 20 2013 Latest news:
Bulgarian Deyan Valentinov attends his trial at a court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. The trial opened Monday of a Bulgarian man who allegedly beheaded a British woman with a carving knife in a random attack inside a supermarket on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Prosecutors demand he should be sentenced to 20 years in a mental asylum because he has chronic paranoid schizophrenia. (AP Photo/Andres Gutierrez)
Friday, February 22, 2013
A Bulgarian drug addict who beheaded a British grandmother, originally from Norfolk, in a frenzied knife attack on the holiday island of Tenerife has been 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 and will be sentenced on a date yet to be set. 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.
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.
Wearing an olive green hoodie, black tracksuit trousers and running shoes, 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 had asked for Deyanov to be sentenced to 20 years in a psychiatric unit.
During his trial, Deyanov said he did not recognise himself in “tough” CCTV footage of the attack and had no recollection of ever living on the island.
He has been diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia and claimed voices had told him he is an “angel of Jesus Christ” sent to create a new Jerusalem.
Francisco Beltran, for the defence, asked the nine jurors to see his client as a “sick man” and asked for an acquittal.
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.
See tomorrow’s paper for a four-page special on the case and its background.
A driver had to be rescued from a river in Thetford after the Ford Focus he was travelling in came off the road.
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