Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Having seen pictures of the Chinese discount store so many times on the TV and in news reports following the death of Mrs Mills-Westley it was somewhat surreal to be standing outside.
The store, which is still open today, is close to the picturesque port of Los Cristianos, with a police station and library among other buildings nearby.
It is located on Avenida Juan Carlos, a palm tree lined street in the shadow of mountains which rise up overhead on either side.
Walking up to the store from the street, accompanied by a macabre and rather eerie feeling, I can only try and imagine the full horror of what unfolded in broad daylight on Friday May 13 2011.
My imagination is then given a jolt by a patch of innocent enough looking white paint close to the store which, I am told, was put down to cover Mrs Mills-Westley’s blood following the attack. Almost two years on and it is still visible – a permanent reminder of the brutality one man brought to this holiday island.
I then crossed the threshold of the shop, my pulse quickening as I did so, to discover a labyrinth-like maze made up of row upon row of goods – everything from souvenirs, to novelty goods, masks, make-up, kitchenware tools and toys.
There really was something for everyone if you had the time or inclination to take the time to search.
I had both as I was looking to see if, following what happened on that fateful day, knives or weapons were still openly available.
I first found some DIY tools, then some toy swords and then, just as I was about to give up looking, I saw them. To my disbelief I found a selection of knives of all shapes and sizes, kitchen blades and larger cleavers, not behind the safety of glass or the counter, but on the bottom shelf of the display with just plastic wrapping to cover them.
The Chinese people at the shop have never spoken of what happened and so it remained.