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)

Could Jennifer Mills-Westley murder have been prevented?

Saturday, February 23, 2013
12.23 PM

The murder of Jennifer Mills-Westley was brutal, but could it have been prevented?

Deyan Deyanov, a Bulgarian national, might now be facing a long period of detention for his heinous crime, but instead of having justice, the former Hellesdon woman’s devastated family could still have their beloved mother and grandmother.

While the 29-year-old Deyanov might not have any previous convictions for an offence as serious as murder, he was reportedly known to the authorities – both in Spain and the UK.

Following his arrest on suspicion of the murder of the unfortunate Mrs Mills-Westley, it emerged that Deyanov was sectioned during a visit to see relatives in the UK in the summer of 2010 – and admitted to the Ablett psychiatric unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, north Wales.

His behaviour there was constantly monitored, but he was allowed to leave in October 2010 before heading for Tenerife, where he murdered Mrs Mills-Westley.

The revelation led to a call for an “urgent” inquiry by politicians including Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who said at the time that “everyone in Hellesdon and the UK wants to know how this tragedy happened”.

Following yesterday’s verdict the family too said they would be asking the Welsh Health Authority to conduct a full inquiry into what happened, in particular concerning his treatment in the UK

During the trial, his own defence lawyer claimed Deyanov was a “ticking time bomb” who was let down by social services.

“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 told the court.

Deyanov 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, 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.

Question are being asked about his treatment by many people in Tenerife. Tomas Eastwood, 22, who works at the Dail Fountain Irish bar near to the port in Los Cristianos said: “It was a real shock at the time but the worst thing is this bloke came from Britain. How did they let him out? It’s like a bomb in a parcel that left England to get here.”

In the lead-up to the killing there were also reports Mrs Mills-Westley feared she was being followed and took refuge in an office moments before her death.

She is believed to have asked for help in a social security office in Los Cristianos ,but left after guards checked the street and told the coast was clear.

Tragically for Mrs Mills-Westley it wasn’t. Deyanov was still tracking her and followed her to the Chinese store where he killed her.