A 25-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 82-year-old grandmother Palmira Silva who was beheaded in her back garden in Edmonton, London on Thursday.
Nicholas Salvador of Gilda Avenue, Enfield, north London, is due to appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today, Scotland Yard said.
He faces a further charge of assault on a police officer.
Salvador had been taken to hospital and remained under police guard before being questioned by officers and charged late last night.
Police were forced to stage a dramatic evacuation operation to save neighbours during the incident, and an armed squad Tasered the suspect as he struggled against officers, leaving one with a broken wrist.
The house in the busy street where the Italian widow’s body was found was the scene of a major police operation after officers were called to the scene initially to reports that a man had beheaded an animal.
Scotland Yard said 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.
Yesterday neighbours paid tribute to Ms Silva, describing her as a “very smiley lady” who was loved by the community.
Silva’s Cafe in Church Street, near Edmonton Green station which the pensioner ran, was shuttered up as local people tried to come to terms with the tragedy.
A witness at the scene had described seeing a headless cat as he watched the drama from his window.
Metropolitan Police officers said shortly after the attack that there were no signs of a link to terrorism.
Yesterday a woman wept after delivering roses, which were accepted by an officer at the cordon.
“She (Ms Silva) was a lovely lady, she didn’t have a bad bone in her body,” said Sylvia Lewis, who declined to give her age.
“To get to 82 then have that happen, she didn’t deserve that.”
Ms Silva’s daughter Celestina said the area in which her mother lived after moving from Italy with her husband decades ago had changed dramatically.
The 49-year-old told the Daily Mail: “She knew the area was changing but she was determined to stay. It seems such a dreadful, senseless waste.”
She said the nature of her mother’s death was “the most horrendous thing”