THE family of a British grandmother who was beheaded by a Bulgarian drug addict in Tenerife has said a “catalogue of failings” by “a number of authorities” led to her death.
Homeless Deyan Deyanov, 29, was yesterday found guilty of murdering Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, in a frenzied knife attack on 13 May, 2011.
He repeatedly stabbed and then beheaded his victim, originally from Norwich, who had been shopping.
Deyanov had denied murder and his defence argued he was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers acute paranoid schizophrenia.
In a statement read by her eldest daughter, Sarah Mills-Westley, after his conviction at the provincial court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the family said the care of people like Deyanov should be taken more seriously.
They said: “Jennifer Mills-Westley has become known as the lady who was beheaded in Tenerife. The truth is, she was our mum, our mentor and our best friend.
“It’s hard to put into words the devastating impact that this preventable and needless act has had on us as a family – sadly Mum was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
They added: “But while today sees the conclusion of the legal process, lessons must be learnt from this tragic event to ensure justice is done for our mum and to ensure no other family has to be subjected to this ordeal.
“It is clear to us that there has been a catalogue of failings. Unfortunately, it is now left to us to piece these together as we still have so many unanswered questions. We would like to make a plea that the care of people like Deyan Valentinov Deyanov is taken more seriously.”
On the morning of the murder Deyanov went into another shop and asked for a knife “this big” to kill someone.
At 10:30am, he went into the Mas Articulos Mejor Precios shop, picked up a 22cm-long knife and plunged it repeatedly into Ms Mills-Westley’s neck.
He then walked out carrying her head, before being wrestled to the ground and arrested. Living rough in Los Cristianos, the crack cocaine and LSD-user was well-known to police.
A warrant for his arrest had been issued just three days before the killing. He had previously been sectioned in the summer of 2010 under the Mental Health Act in Glan Clwyd Hospital, North Wales, and again at Tenerife’s La Candelaria hospital before being bailed in early February 2011. He was also a resident of Leith in Edinburgh, where he was a labourer for two years.
The jury found Deyanov guilty of murder as he took his victim by surprise and she could not defend herself.
Even though he was suffering schizophrenia and his responsibility was diminished, in Spanish law he is guilty of murder.
Prosecutor Angel Garcia Rodriguez asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years in a secure psychiatric ward to be imposed.
Deyanov’s sentence is expected in the coming week.