Connect to share and comment

Man gets 20 years for beheading Briton in Spain: group

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A court in Spain on Thursday sentenced a Bulgarian man to 20 years' custody in a psychiatric unit for beheading a British grandmother with a knife in a shop, a charity acting for her family said.

The court in Tenerife sentenced Deyan Valentinov Deyanov, 29, for killing 60-year-old Jennifer Mills-Westley, Matt Searl of the British charity Missing Abroad told AFP, citing the family.

The charity, which aids victims of crimes overseas, was acting as a representative for Mills-Westley's children who attended the trial on Tenerife, the island where she was killed in 2011.

Officials at the court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife were not immediately available to give details of the sentence.

Spanish media reported that the court found Deyanov not criminally responsible because he killed Mills-Westley during an acute bout of paranoid schizophrenia.

But it ordered that he be held for 20 years in a psychiatric unit because of the danger he posed, the reports added.

Deyanov had pleaded not guilty to repeatedly stabbing and then beheading Mills-Westley, whom he did not know, with a knife at a Chinese general store in May 2011.

During his trial he said he used crack and LSD and was haunted by voices which told him how to act.

Witnesses told the court they saw Deyanov leave the store with the woman's bloodied head in his hand.

Police arrested him as he was struggling with a security guard and trying to escape.

The victim's daughters, Sarah Mears and Samantha Gomes, said the trial "has been incredibly hard on us and has reiterated the horror of Mum's death," in a statement released before the sentencing.

"We have had to listen to graphic descriptions of what happened to her," they added.

Mills-Westley, from Norwich in eastern England, had been living in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, after retiring from her job as a road safety officer.

Deyanov reportedly had a history of mental illness.

"We would like to make a plea that the care of people like Deyan Valentinov Deyanov is taken more seriously," the daughters said in their statement.

"He is a young man who has clearly been failed by a number of authorities, in the UK, Spain and most likely others."

rlp/ds/mlr

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130228/man-gets-20-years-beheading-briton-spain-group