Family of British grandmother stabbed to death and beheaded in Tenerife knife attack come face to face with killer as trial gets underway

Dean Valentinov Deyanov beheaded the British grandmother and ran into the street with her severed head shouting "God is on Earth"

Rob Williams
Monday 18 February 2013 15:16
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British grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley
British grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley

The family of a British grandmother stabbed to death and beheaded in a frenzied Tenerife knife attack, today came face to face with her killer in court.

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was murdered in a horrific knife attack during which she was stabbed 14 times.

Her attacker, Dean Valentinov Deyanov, 29, a homeless Bulgarian, allegedly beheaded the British grandmother and ran into the street with her severed head shouting: "God is on Earth".

Deyanov is standing trial before a jury at the Provincial Court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Ms Mills-Westley, originally from Norwich, Norfolk, was inside a Chinese-owned shop on Avenida Juan Carlos when she was viciously stabbed and decapitated.

Deyanov reportedly walked into a shop to ask for a large knife before launching the attack.

Mr Deyanov is reported to have had a history of mental illness which saw him sectioned in the UK, where he had previously lived.

In the summer of 2010 he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act at Glan Clwyd Hospital in North Wales.

He had been released from a local hospital in February 2011 following psychiatric treatment, according to regional newspaper La Opinion.

And a Spanish judge had issued a search and arrest order for him before the killing for his alleged involvement in a fight where he appeared to be on drugs.

Ms Mills-Westley's daughters, Sarah Mears, 43, and Samantha Gomes, 39, were at the Provincial Court in Santa Cruz for the first day of the trial of Deyan Deyanov.

Deyanov, 29, today denied murder.

As the jury was shown "tough" CCTV footage relating to the attack, Mrs Gomes covered her mouth in horror and stared into the distance.

Giving evidence later, Mrs Mears said: "All I want to see is justice done for my mum today."

She explained that in the months before her death, Ms Mills-Westley had become worried about safety on the island.

"It was nothing specific but she was increasingly concerned that Tenerife was not as safe as when we used to visit 30 years ago."

Mrs Mears, who lives in Norwich, and Mrs Gomes, from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, looked visibly shaken as they watched the trial.

Francisco Beltran, for the defence, told the jury his client was in "total disagreement" with the charge of murder against him.

"He has committed no crime, and it goes without saying that he has not committed the crime of murder," Mr Beltran said.

He asked the jury of nine to see his client as a "sick man" who had been living in the street without a diagnosis or treatment for his acute schizophrenia.

Answering questions in Bulgarian with the help of an interpreter, Deyanov told the court he is haunted by voices which tell him how to act.

He claimed they were telling him he was "an angel of Jesus Christ who is going to create a new Jerusalem".

"They direct how I act, sometimes they say kill, fight, hit, pray," he said.

After watching CCTV footage of the attack, he said it was "a montage, a film" and claimed that he did not recognise himself in the images.

The defendant said he had been using crack cocaine and LSD before his arrest, but had no memory of living in Tenerife.

Asked if he knew he was in Tenerife after being brought there from a psychiatric unit in Seville on the Spanish mainland, he said: "I have just found out."

He also denied that he had lived in Wales, where he was sectioned in the summer of 2010 under the Mental Health Act at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

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