A Bulgarian man went on trial Monday accused of decapitating a British grandmother in a store on the Spanish holiday island of Tenerife and then running out with her severed head.
Deyan Valentinov Deyanov pleaded not guilty to repeatedly stabbing and then beheading Jennifer Mills-Westley, 60, with a knife at a Chinese general goods store in May 2011.
Witnesses said they saw Deyanov leave the store with the woman’s bloodied head in his hand, which he then threw on the pavement, reportedly shouting “God is on Earth”.
Police arrested him as he was struggling with a security guard and trying to escape.
Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 20 years in a mental asylum for the 29-year-old, who has chronic paranoid schizophrenia, as well as a payment of 200,000 euros ($267,000) to the victim’s family.
The nine-member jury was shown around 15 minutes of security camera footage of the attack but Deyanov said he did not recognise himself in the images, which he said were “a montage, a film”.
The court also heard testimony from a young man who helped detain Deyanov and an ambulance driver who rushed to the scene and saw the Bulgarian man carrying the victim’s head.
Mills-Westley had no relation to Deyanov.
The defendant was released from a Tenerife hospital where he underwent psychiatric treatment just three months before Mills-Westley was killed, according to Spanish media reports.
In January 2011, he reportedly struck a security guard in the head with a rock, breaking several of his teeth.
The victim’s daughters, Sarah Mears, 43, and Sam Gomes, 38, attended the hearing.