Tenerife beheading: British couple say suspect 'did not look human'

Jennifer Mills-Westley
Image caption Ms Mills-Westley had retired from a job with Norfolk County Council to live in Tenerife

A British couple have described the moment they saw a man stab a 60-year-old grandmother to death and decapitate her in a supermarket in Tenerife.

Kenneth and Susan Bennison, from Warrington, said the man who attacked Jennifer Mills-Westley "looked unclean, wild and... did not look human".

Bulgarian Deyan Deyanov, 29, who has a mental health condition, denies murdering Ms Mills-Westley in May 2011.

The ex-road safety officer from Norwich had retired to live on the island.

'Strange noise'

Mr and Mrs Bennison broke down in tears as they recalled what they had witnessed while shopping in the Chinese-owned store in the popular Tenerife resort of Los Cristianos.

Giving evidence to the provincial court in the island capital Santa Cruz via videolink from the UK, Mrs Bennison said she became aware of the attack after hearing a "very strange noise".

She said she saw a man kneeling on the ground, repeatedly stabbing a woman, who the couple had seen walking around the shop.

"He looked unclean, wild and he did not look human," Mrs Bennison added.

Mr Bennison said: "We heard her gasp for breath. He withdrew the knife out of her neck and then put it back in again."

Image caption Deyan Deyanov has been diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia

He added that the attacker looked calm during the attack, and he and his wife fled the store while the attack was still ongoing.

"I wanted to help but when he pulled the knife out of her neck I realised there was nothing I could do for her," Mr Bennison said.

Yiping Chen, who was working in the store at the time, told the court Mr Deyanov approached her twice after the attack saying: "I have cut off the head of a crazy girl."

'Hang him'

Ms Mills-Westley's daughters Sarah and Samantha wiped away tears during the evidence on the second day of the trial on Wednesday.

Spanish police officers, who attended the scene, were next to give evidence and told the court that Mr Deyanov had twice been "dealt with" by police in the days prior to the attack.

Police said he was stopped from throwing glass bottles at a shopping centre while drunk, and spoken to again on a separate occasion after arguing on the street with another man.

One officer, who was not named but identified by his badge number, said he arrived to find a security guard restraining a person "who was covered in blood".

He said: "The security guard said they had seen a head... when we took him to the car people started to shout 'murderer', 'kill him', 'hang him'.

Image caption Jennifer Mills-Westley was attacked while in a Chinese supermarket in Los Cristianos

"My colleagues put him in the car and took him took him to the police station.

Until then I had not seen the head but people were shouting, 'There is a head, there is a head' and on the kerb opposite there was indeed a head covered by a blanket."

The officer said he followed a trail of blood from the head into the supermarket, where he found Ms Mills-Westley's body in a pool of blood.

During the officer's evidence, Mr Deyanov, shouted "I am Jesus Christ" in Bulgarian.

On Monday, the first day of the trial, Mr Deyanov said "voices" had told him he was "an angel of Jesus Christ who is going to create a new Jerusalem".

The Bulgarian, who was homeless and could not remember living on the Canary Islands, has been diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia and, when arrested, admitted he had used crack cocaine and LSD.

The prosecution are seeking a sentence of 20 years in a secure psychiatric unit, if the nine-member jury find Mr Deyanov guilty.

The trial has been adjourned and will resume on Thursday.

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