Briton beheaded in Tenerife shop was 'wonderful woman' and 'full of life'

Chris Parsons

The British mother-of-two who was beheaded in a shop in Tenerife was 'full of life, generous of heart and would do anything for anyone', a court heard today.

Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, was a mother of two daughters - Sarah and Sam - and grandmother of five who was living life to the full in the "eternal spring" of the Canary Islands.

The retired road safety officer was viciously stabbed and decapitated with a nine-inch carving knife in the popular resort of Los Cristianos on May 13, 2011.

A court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife - where homeless Bulgarian Deyan Deyanov is accused of murder - today heard that Ms Mills-Westley was 'popular and well-respected'.

Originally from Norwich, Norfolk, she had worked as a road safety officer with Norfolk County Council.

In that role, Ms Mills-Westley taught schoolchildren cycling safety training and was well-thought of by colleagues.

She had retired and 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".

The tributes were heard on the same day the court was shown harrowing CCTV footage surrounding the attack.

Deyanov, 29, has denied murder and told the court he is haunted by voices telling him how to act.

The defence has said he is suffering from "acute schizophrenia".

Deyanov is alleged to have walked into another shop before the attack to ask for a large knife.

After killing Ms Mills-Westley, the 29-year-old was apparently heard saying "God is on earth" before he was captured by security guards as he ran out of the store holding her head.

The jury was shown two knives allegedly used in the attack. Both were 22cm long and one was visibly bent and bloodied.

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

The trial is expected to conclude on February 25 but there is no date for the verdict.