Knifeman decapitates British woman in Spain
A deranged knifeman decapitated a British woman in a supermarket on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife on Friday and fled with her head, police said.
The man, 28-year-old Bulgarian Deyan Valentinov, launched his knife attack on the victim in a Chinese supermarket, they said.
"The attack culminated with the decapitation of the victim," Canary Islands police said in a statement. "The attacker left the establishment with the head in his hand and then threw it to the pavement."
The victim was a 60-year-old British woman shopping in the supermarket in the tourist spot of Los Cristianos beach in Arona on the southern side of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands, police said.
She had no relation to the attacker, they said.
Police said they arrested the man as he was struggling with a security guard and trying to escape.
"A man came running up with something full of blood in his hand and a private security guard behind him, and he threw it on the ground and it almost hit me," a witness named only as Bernardo told Cadena Ser radio.
"What he had in his hand was a girl's head."
The man, who had a previous record for causing bodily injury, struck at 10:30 am (0830 GMT) in the supermarket, which forms part of the Valdes shopping centre of Arona, police said.
The attacker shouted out: "God is on Earth," according to local news site CanariasalDia.com, quoting Arona's mayor, Jose Alberto Gonzalez Reveron. He lived in a "semi-abandoned" house, the mayor said.
Canary Islands political representative Dominica Fernandez was quoted by the news site as saying that the killer was disturbed and had chosen his victim at random.
In London, a Foreign Office official said it had been informed of the attack. "We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Tenerife and are urgently investigating," she said.
Other news reports said the man had been in a psychiatric hospital for breaking a man's teeth and had only been released in February but this could not be confirmed.
Freelance writer Colin Kirby said in a video interview with British expatriate news site Tenerifemagazine.com that he was walking past the Chinese shop when he saw a big crowd and and ambulance.
"I assumed someone had fainted or something," Kirby said.
"I walked on a bit, turned around, there were people shouting. There was an hispanic looking guy, very scruffy, walking behind me muttering to himself, carrying what I thought was a joke head by the hair with blood," he said.
Further on, Chinese residents began to ran towards the supermarket and security guards chased the attacker across the street where members of the public forced him to the ground, Kirby said.
When security and police arrived they had to hold people off to prevent them beating the suspect, he said.
Tenerife is home to around one million residents and one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations.
© 2011 AFP