Tenerife: Man Guilty Of Beheading A Norwich Woman

22 February 2013, 15:00 | Updated: 22 February 2013, 15:55

A Bulgarian man has been found guilty of the murder of a Norwich woman in Tenerife.

Bulgarian man Deyan Deyanov decapitated the grandmother in May 2011.

The 60-year-old, a retired council worker from Norwich was repeatedly stabbed and then beheaded while she was in a Chinese-owned general store near the beach.

About Jennifer Mills-Westley:

Jennifer Mills-Westley was described by her family as someone who was "full of life, generous of heart and would do anything for anyone''.

The 60-year-old was a mother of two and grandmother of five who was living life to the full in the "eternal spring'' of the Canary Islands.

Ms Mills-Westley's daughters, Sarah Mills-Westley, 43, from Norwich and Samantha Mills-Westley, 39, who lives in  France, looked visibly shaken as they attended the trial of Deyan Deyanov in Tenerife.

Today they've released this statement: Here follows a statement from the victim's daughters.

"Since May 13 2011, 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. She was a highly gifted, selfless person with so much love in her heart and who has been taken away from us in her prime.

"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. We would like to thank the jury for having the courage to sit through this trial.

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

"This week has been incredibly hard on us and has reiterated the horror of mum's death. We have had to listen to graphic descriptions of what happened to her. However, we would like to make it clear that, contrary to a number of speculations in the media, we thankfully did not watch the CCTV footage.

"Words alone cannot express our thanks to the support provided by Victim Support and the Lucie Blackman Trust - Missing Abroad.

"However, despite our expectations, we have been disappointed by the lack of any other support; notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our mum's MP in her hometown of Norfolk.

"Whilst today closes one chapter we will have to live with the painful consequences for the rest of our lives.

"We ask that we are now granted privacy after an extremely difficult and emotional week.''

When she retired, Ms Mills-Westley settled in Tenerife, where she owned two apartments in the Port Royale complex on the hillside edge of Los Cristianos.

One two-bedroom flat was rented out while she lived in the other and had been resident there for at least 10 years.

Neighbours described her as "quiet and peaceful and always immaculately dressed''.

With one of her daughters living in France and the other in Norwich, she enjoyed travelling to pay visits to her family.

In a poignant tribute following her death, her ex-husband Peter told the Mail on Sunday she was a "wonderful woman, a brilliant mother and I loved her dearly''.

Ms Mills-Westley works helping keep Norfolk's children safe on our roads as a Road Safety Officer for Norfolk County Council.  Today they've given Heart this statement: "Jenny was a popular and well respected member of staff, who during her time with Norfolk County Council worked as a Road Safety Officer - working with many schools and children to make Norfolk's roads safer.
The manner of her death was horrific and I hope the outcome of the court case finally brings closure for her family, whom our thoughts are still with."
"Jenny worked for the County Council from July 1988 before retiring in July 2003."

About Tenerife:

With the conclusion of Deyan Deyanov's trial, Tenerife's large expat community are seeking to put their darkest chapter behind them.

Los Cristianos resident Colin Kirby, 51, was there on the day of the shocking events and saw Deyanov carrying Jennifer Mills-Westley's head outside the Chinese-owned general store in Avenida Juan Carlos I.

At first he thought it was a "crazy joke'', but soon realised he was witnessing a real-life horror show which cast a shadow over Tenerife's sunny image.

Mr Kirby said: "It's a holiday area, we get a lot of people coming in, there's a light, fun atmosphere

"People come here to relax and enjoy themselves and it just caused absolute shock.

"The family said they were looking for closure, and to an extent the community is looking for closure, looking to move on and put this behind them.

"Obviously people are concerned about safety and the prosecution are asking for 20 years in a secure institution.

"People will be pleased to get past this point and then get back to normality.''

Originally from Oxford, Mr Kirby moved to Tenerife 11 years ago.

"I came for the sunshine and easy-going way of life and to not see frost in the morning,'' he said.

"There's not many beaches in Oxford.''

He is one of 80,000 to 90,000 Britons on the electoral roll in the seven Canary Islands, including 40,000 in Tenerife.

Mr Kirby, who works as a freelance journalist, said there are many more who are not registered or are ``swallows'' - people who only live in the islands during winter.

Some 3.6 million British holidaymakers travel to the Canary Islands each year, with 1.6 million choosing to go to Tenerife.

About Deyan Deyanov:

Drifter Deyan Deyanov's descent into madness was fuelled by drug addiction and tinged with deranged religious undercurrents.

Living rough in a derelict building on Tenerife's Los Cristianos beach, he used crack cocaine and LSD and built a shrine full of religious imagery.

Well-known as a troublemaker to police and social services on the island, he had been arrested at least four times between January and May 2011.

His history of violence can be traced back to his hometown of Ruse, a city in northern Bulgaria known as the Little Vienna.

The son of a Communist apparatchik and factory owner, his childhood was by all accounts one of luxury.

But the fall of Communism in 1989 transformed the family's fortunes beyond all recognition.

His father abandoned his two sons and wife after he went bankrupt, with reports Deyanov's mother ended up in an asylum.

Those who knew him as a young man speak of someone with a fiery temper who terrorised the mother of his only child.

After leaving Bulgaria, he drifted all over Europe, staying in Edinburgh, North Wales and Ibiza, before arriving in Tenerife.

His mental health problems were getting significantly worse in the months leading up to the terrible death of Ms Mills-Westley.

In the summer of 2010 he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in North Wales.

Released in October of that year he travelled to Tenerife and worked as a timeshare tout.

But his erratic behaviour prevented him from holding down a job and he was pushed to the margins of society.

In the ebb and flow of paranoid schizophrenia, his obsession with religion seems to have got darker.

According to a friend who shared the crumbling beachside building where Deyanov lived, he showed interest in Bogomilism, a Bulgarian cult which believes the world was created by the Devil.

During his trial, the 29-year-old claimed that voices in his head tell him he is an "angel of Jesus Christ'' sent to create a new Jerusalem.

He said they told him to "kill, fight, hit, pray''.

Random attacks on the street first brought him to the attention of Spanish police in early January 2011.

In one, he knocked out the front teeth of a security guard on the Los Cristianos seafront.

In another he set upon a man who was walking his dog.

Committed to La Candelaria hospital's psychiatric unit, he was released on bail in early February.

With increasing concerns about the threat he posed, a warrant for his arrest was issued just three days before Ms Mills-Westley was killed.

Police were not able to find him and give him the help he needed in time, with horrifying consequences.


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