Tenerife Expat Beheading: I was an Angel of Jesus, Says Defendant Deyan Deyanov

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By Ewan Palmer | February 19, 2013 3:51 AM EST

Jennifer Mills-Westley was killed while in Tenerife

A Bulgarian man accused of beheading a British expat in Tenerife heard voices who told him he was an "angel of Jesus Christ", a court has heard.

Deyan Deyanov, 29, is accused of stabbing and beheading Jennifer Mills-Westley, a 60-year-old grandmother, while she was out shopping in the popular holiday resort of Los Cristianos in May 2011.

He is also accused of carrying her severed head through the street and shouting wildly before being wrestled to the ground by security guards.

Lawyers for Deyanov said he was a "sick man" but he was in "total disagreement" that he was guilty of murder.

Francisco Beltran, defending, told the court: "He has committed no crime and it goes without saying that he has not committed the crime of murder." 

The 29-year-old defendant was living on the streets with an undiagnosed mental health condition, the court heard. Deyanov claimed he did not know he was even living in Tenerife until arresting officers told him.

He told the court through a translator that he heard voices - a result of his acute schizophrenia. The voices "direct how I act, sometimes they say kill, fight, hit, pray", he said.

Safety concerns

The family of the victim were in court in the island's capital of Santa Cruz. Her eldest daughter, Sarah Mears, said her mother had revealed concerns about the safety of the island in the months prior to her visit.

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

The jury was shown  CCTV footage of the attack, which took place inside a Chinese-owned supermarket. Deyanov described the footage as "a montage, a film" and claimed he did not recognise himself in the video nor remember the incident.

He also could not recall if he ever lived in Wales, where he was sectioned in 2010 under the Mental Health Act at Glan Clwyd hospital.

The defendant claimed he had taken crack cocaine and LSD before his arrest.

Prosecuting, Angel Rodriguez described to the jury the moment of the attack. He said:  "The accused approached Jennifer Mills-Westley, who he did not know and who was shopping, attacking and striking her repeatedly with a knife in her back and neck until she was decapitated."

The trial continues. 

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