The man who beheaded an elderly great-grandmother in a London suburb last year has been found not guilty – but will be confined in a high-security psychiatric hospital for life.
Nicholas Salvador, 25, rampaged through the north London suburb of Edmonton on 4 September before attacking 82-year-old Palmira Silva.
Salvador, who denied murder by reason of insanity and was assessed by two psychiatrists as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, stabbed his elderly victim multiple times before cutting off her head and holding it aloft, the court heard.
The jury took just 40 minutes to return the not guilty verdict at the Old Bailey this morning.
Salvador is expected to continue receiving treatment at Broadmoor high security hospital, having been moved from Belmarsh prison following his mental state.
In the course of the September morning Salvador, a cage fighting hopeful, had torn down fences and kicked in neighbours’ doors in the belief he was killing “demons”.
The court heard that Salvador, who had lost his job in billboard advertising three days before, thought Mrs Silva was a supernatural entity – either a demon disguised as an elderly lady or Adolf Hitler returned from the dead.
The afternoon’s shocking events were captured by a police helicopter overhead, with officers heard to remark on the CCTV footage: “He's agitated and lethal ... he needs taking out."
Salvador was eventually restrained in a neighbour’s front room during a violent confrontation, in which he was tasered six times, and left an officer injured.
Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, told jurors in his closing speech that “this was a deeply upsetting and horrific incident.”
“Mrs Silva was not targeted because of who she was. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he continued. “But for the efforts of the police and a measure of luck other people were not seriously injured or worse.
“The defendant was a very sick man."
His remarks were echoed by Salvador’s lawyer, Bernard Richmond QC, who said: "It is plain also that when he is not unwell Mr Salvador is somebody regarded as a decent man.”
"Mental illness in whatever circumstances can be terrifying for the person and one of the things we have to bear in mind that, after this case is finished, he will have to continue, as his mental state improves, coming to terms with the horror of what he did when he was unwell," he added.
Additional reporting by Press AssociationReuse content