British woman 'beheaded' in busy supermarket in Tenerife
Published 13/05/2011 | 16:12
A British woman has been beheaded in a supermarket on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spanish authorities have announced.
Eye witnesses have told in gruesome detail how her attacker carried her bloodied head from the store in Los Cristianos.
The man, who had mental health issues. had the victim’s head in his hands when he was chased and rugby tackled by security staff.
Dominica Fernandez, a Spanish government official, said the suspect had "chosen his victim by chance".
A witness told broadcaster Cadena Ser that he saw the man drop a bloodstained woman's head on the pavement after coming out of the shop.
"I was parking my car outside the supermarket and I saw this man running out with something bloody in his hands," the witness said.
"It was a head. He had it in his hands. The security guards chased him and threw him to the floor and overpowered him."
The victim, who has not yet been identified, was aged 62 and working at the mini-market.
The suspect, believed to be a homeless Bulgarian man with a police record, was detained by security guards after he ran out of the supermarket in a shopping centre in Los Cristianos with the head in his hands.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Tenerife and are urgently investigating."
The suspect was reportedly discharged from a hospital in February having received treatment for violent behaviour.
A regional government spokeswoman said the suspect is believed to have entered the shop, stolen a knife which he then used to assault and behead the woman.
Manuel Reveron, a local a councillor said: "Apparently this gentleman without any motive or any reason, although for this there is no reasoning, entered the shop and then cut this woman's neck and took the head in his hand outside up to the sidewalk."
A woman who works at an estate agent's on Avenida Juan Carlos, near the murder scene, said she drove past shortly after the killing.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said: "It is horrific. I drove by about 10 minutes later and there were lots of crowds about. We have heard about from the local news and from the mayor speaking on radio and television. This man had a real wild moment and attacked this woman. There doesn't seem to be any relation between them."
In a video posted on YouTube, witness Colin Kirby of Tenerifemagazine.com said: "There were people shouting. There was a Hispanic-looking guy walking behind me, looking very scruffy, muttering to himself, carrying what I thought was a joke head by the hair. The blood - it just made me think, Clash of the Titans...
"The security guards came out, they chased him across the road. By this time he's empty handed. They got him on the other side of the road, just by the cultural centre. A couple of people tried to get him, they flattened him, got him on the ground.
"The police arrived. The security and the police had to hold people off - they were queueing up - they were trying basically to kick the hell out of the guy. Now the place is a madhouse. There's police, ambulance, security and big areas roped off.
"I spoke to an English couple who were in the shop. They said they couldn't believe it. They said this guy just walked in, pulled a big knife and started stabbing at her. I still find it hard believe it was a real head - it looked like some prosthetic thing you see in a movie. It's just bizarre