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Woman beheaded: Pensioner killer 'carried machete in bloody hands'

By Staff Reporter

A man who came face-to-face with the crazed knife attacker who beheaded a 82-year-old grandmother after killing a cat has told how he "looked straight through" him.

Myrvin Kirwan, an installer with the Virgin Media company, was working at a customer's house when the drama unfolded.

He said: "I could hear the helicopter overhead but was getting on with my work when the customer came downstairs and said, 'Who's that?' I looked out through the glass into the garden and then I saw him – bloody hands, machete and no shirt.

"The customer shut the door within seconds, then the police came in saying 'Get out of the house'. He [the attacker] was looking through me."

Another witness described seeing the 25-year-old brandishing a machete and shouting about cats. The witness, who did not wish to be named, said: "There was a scream so I went to the windows and saw a guy with a machete with blood dripping from it. We saw a cat on the floor without a head."

The man arrested in connection with the murder in Edmonton, north London, was last night under armed guard in hospital as officers waited to question him.

Yesterday, staff in shops near the cafe that the Italian pensioner ran told of their devastation at her death.

Dilek Solm (19), working behind the counter in a fruit and vegetable shop next door, said: "I'm so upset. She always had a smile on her face."

Sales assistant Raj Thangavelselvaraj (50), who works in a newsagent next to the cafe, added: "She would come in to buy greetings cards for her grandchildren. She was a nice lady, she was good to everyone."

A neighbour who knew Ms Silva said the widow was a "sweet" person who had lived in her house more than 25 years and went to work every day.

She added: "She was slow getting around but still went to work. I think after her husband died that's what kept her going."

Pensioner Sylvia Lewis, who wept as she delivered flowers to the scene of the crime, told how she had known the victim. She said: "I knew her and I worked for 10 years at a cigarette company with her son. I think what happened was downright disgusting. She was a lovely lady."

Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford said officers were trying to establish a motive but added there was no sign of a link to terrorism.

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