Norfolk

Beheaded mum Jennifer Mills-Westley 'was defenceless'

Jennifer Mills-Westley Image copyright BBC elvis
Image caption Jennifer Mills-Westley had retired to the holiday island of Tenerife

A woman beheaded in a Spanish supermarket was unable to defend herself against the "abhorrent" attack, an inquest has heard.

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, originally from Norwich, was attacked in Los Cristianos in 2011.

Deyan Deyanov, who had paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to 20 years in a psychiatric unit for murder.

Coroner Jacqueline Lake returned a narrative verdict in the case at Norfolk Coroner's Court.

Ms Mills-Westley's daughter Sarah wept as the coroner read out excerpts of the Spanish jury's verdict, saying the retired road safety worker had been rendered defenceless by the brutality of the attack, which took place in a supermarket on 13 May 2011.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Deyan Deyanov (right) was sentenced to 20 years in a secure unit

Ms Lake told the inquest Deyanov had picked up a ham slicing knife from a shelf and attacked Ms Mills-Westley from behind, "stabbing her repeatedly in the neck".

"He then picked up her severed head and walked outside," she said.

The inquest heard Ms Mills-Westley had no time to react or defend herself.

"He ensured he could kill his victim without any risk to himself," said Ms Lake.

Post-mortem reports showed Ms Mills-Westley bled to death.

Ms Lake said the Spanish court found Deyanov had been in an "acute" phase of his schizophrenia, meaning he could not discern reality.

Image caption Samantha and Sarah Mills-Westley say their mother had been let down by staff at a Welsh psychiatric unit

The coroner returned a narrative conclusion that Ms Mills-Westley died after an attack by a person she did not know, from which she could not defend herself.

"This was an absolutely abhorrent event," she said.

Deyanov had been admitted to the Ablett psychiatric unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, near Rhyl, in June 2010 while he stayed at a relative's home in Flint.

An independent report published by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales concluded there were "clear shortcomings" relating to the care provided in North Wales.

Speaking after the report, Sarah and her sister Samantha, said that had staff not missed his serious medical problems, their mother may still be alive today.

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