A 25-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murdering an elderly great-grandmother who was beheaded in her back garden in north London.
Palmira Silva, 82, died on Thursday after the alleged machete attack in broad daylight, when police staged a dramatic operation to evacuate children and neighbours from the scene.
Nicholas Salvador, of Gilda Avenue, Enfield, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
He did not enter a plea to charges of murder and assault on a police officer whose wrist was allegedly broken during his arrest.
Salvador was Tasered by armed police and was afterwards taken to hospital, where he remained under guard until being charged late on Friday night.
Emergency calls initially reported that a man had beheaded an animal, thought to be a cat, but when police arrived they found Ms Silva’s body in busy Nightingale Road.
The Metropolitan Police said officers distracted the man after he was seen going through back gardens while they took people to safety from nearby homes.
Ms Silva, who was widowed and had moved to London from Italy, was well-known in the community where she ran her own café, called Silva’s, in Church Street.
It was shuttered and closed on Friday as local people tried to come to terms with her tragic death.
“She was a lovely lady, she didn't have a bad bone in her body,” said Sylvia Lewis.
“To get to 82 then have that happen, she didn't deserve that.”
Ms Silva's daughter, Celestina, said the area in which her mother lived after moving from Italy with her husband decades ago had changed dramatically.
The 49-year-old told the Daily Mail: “She knew the area was changing but she was determined to stay. It seems such a dreadful, senseless waste.”
She said the nature of her mother's death was “the most horrendous thing”.
The Met Police confirmed shortly after the attack that there were no signs of a link to terrorism amid speculation following the Islamic State’s beheadings of two American journalists.
Additional reporting by PA