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An elderly woman was beheaded in broad daylight in a horrific attack in a suburban back garden.

An elderly woman was beheaded in broad daylight in a horrific attack in a suburban back garden.

Palmira Silva (82), who is believed to be of Italian descent, was found dead outside a house in Edmonton, north London.

Tributes were paid to Ms Silva, who is thought to have worked in a nearby cafe, as a 25-year-old man held in connection with the killing remained under police guard in hospital.

The man was Tasered and arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene in Nightingale Road by armed officers, some of whom were injured in a struggle.


Witnesses described seeing a man dressed in black, waving a machete-like weapon as he wandered screaming and shouting through private gardens.

A local resident described seeing a man brandishing a machete and shouting about cats.

"We saw a cat on the floor without a head. He was standing in the garden and walking up and down shouting about cats."

Scotland Yard revealed that its officers distracted the man after he was seen going through back gardens in Nightingale Road to prevent him attacking anyone else while they evacuated people from nearby homes.

Another neighbour who knew Ms Silva said the widow was "such a sweet lady".

The neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she was "devastated" by what had happened.

She said: "I was speaking to her yesterday. She was weeding in the front garden, she loved her gardening."


Meanwhile, in a separate incident, police shot dead a man who was threatening a woman with a knife.

Residents in a leafy street in north London said they woke up at around 1am to hear a volley of gunshots "like fireworks" and saw the area swamped with police cars and armed officers.

Scotland Yard said the man (40) died on his way to hospital - around 20 minutes later.

A middle-aged woman in a pink blanket being comforted by a female police officer as she was led away from the house in Shepperton Road in Islington. She was not harmed but was treated for shock.

Police had sent a negotiator to the scene at 11.19pm last night following reports that the man had broken into a house.

The man and woman involved are believed to have known each other, police said.