Woman beheaded in horror attack at tourist spot
Published 14/05/2011 | 05:00
A British woman was beheaded in front of horrified customers at a busy supermarket on the holiday island of Tenerife yesterday.
The attacker calmly walked out of the store, carrying his victim's head as a trophy.
Some reports said the woman, who was described as being in her 60s, was working in the store in the town of Arona, about 10 miles from the popular beach resort of Los Christianos.
According to some witnesses, the attacker, who it is believed did not know the victim, strolled into the shop carrying a machete. He approached the woman but did not speak to her before stabbing her to death then decapitating her.
Others claimed he grabbed a knife from the shop's shelves before the unprovoked attack.
Colin Kirby (50), a British journalist who lives in Tenerife, was walking past the store yesterday morning when he saw the attacker emerging.
He said he saw the man walking away carrying what he thought was a joke head and only realised the true horror of what he was witnessing when members of the public and security officers grappled the man to the ground.
Mr Kirby said: "The shop sells things for fiestas like joke masks and heads, so at first I thought it was a joke. It looked like he was carrying a prop from the 'Clash of the Titans' but then I realised it wasn't a joke.''
Describing the man, he added: "He did look dishevelled, slightly swarthy-looking and the police are saying he is Bulgarian but we have a big ethnic mix on the island."
The man, who is said to be a 28-year-old vagrant with a history of mental illness, was in police custody last night.
Christina Perez, a legal representative at a nearby court, said a group of lawyers witnessed the man leaving the store, carrying the head.
"A security man from the complex ran after him and jumped on to him so he fell, and then he threw the head on to the road," she said.
Ms Perez (38) added that her frightened colleagues darted indoors for safety. "They were shocked. Some of them ran to the office and locked themselves in," she said. "Everybody is shocked. It's a very safe area. You can usually go anywhere you want in the day or at night. This is really not normal."
The attack took place as scores of holidaymakers browsed in the town's bustling shopping district.
Some of those who witnessed the attack had to be treated for shock. (© Daily Telegraph, London)