A retired grandmother-of-five who was beheaded in a supermarket was unable to defend herself in the “absolutely abhorrent event,” an inquest heard yesterday.
Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was shopping in a Chinese-owned shop in Los Cristianos resort, Tenerife, when she was brutally attacked on the morning of 13 May 2011.
The former road safety officer, who moved to the island in 2006 from Norwich, was stabbed repeatedly by Deyan Deyanov, 28, a homeless man with paranoid schizophrenia who was originally from Bulgaria.
He was found guilty of murder by a court in Santa Cruz and was sentenced to 20 years in a high-security psychiatric unit in Seville, Spain.
Deyanov, who the court found was in an “acute” phase of schizophrenia at the time, had picked up a ham slicing knife to stab her in the neck around 14 times until her head was severed.
He then picked up her head from the floor and walked out of the supermarket with it.
Coroner Jacqueline Lake, of Norfolk Coroner’s Court, on Wednesday concluded with the jury’s verdict that said the victim had been rendered defenceless by the attack.
She said: “Her capacity to react and defend herself or even runaway was completely impaired by the defendant.
“He ensured he could kill his victim without any risk to himself.”
She added that Ms Mills-Westley had bled to death during “an absolutely abhorrent event.”
Deyanov has had a long history of mental illness. He was sectioned to the Ablett psychiatric unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, Wales, while he stayed at a relative’s home in Flint in June 2010.
An independent report published by Healthcare Inspectorate Wales concluded that there were “clear shortcomings” relating to the care provided while he was in the UK.
It said: “It is difficult to determine how these deficiencies may have directly influenced and led to the events of May 2011.
“However, we do believe that had the issues that we identify within the report been addressed, that the likelihood of such an incident occurring might have been significantly reduced.”
Speaking after the report, Ms Mills-Westley’s daughters Sarah and Samantha, said that had staff not missed his serious medical problems, their mother may still be alive today.
They added: “The Health Inspectorate of Wales report has highlighted a number of significant basic medical best practice failures. These failings are far worse than we had imagined.
“We are shocked to learn that the clearly prejudicial views of the medical staff severely compromised the diagnosis and therefore subsequent treatment of Deyan Deyanov.”