[guest post by Dana]
An 82-year-old woman was beheaded in a north London suburban garden by a man with a machete.
Palmira Silva, a widow and grandmother described as “such a sweet lady” by one neighbour, was killed outside her home in Edmonton in a random but frenzied assault by a 25-year-old.
Witnesses said they saw the man, wielding a foot-long blade, attack a passing vehicle and a cat before roaming back gardens looking for a victim.
Police believe he also tried to attack two people at another home in the street, but they were able to escape without injury.
The man was arrested after armed officers, who had distracted him to prevent further attacks, cornered him in a house and brought him down with a Taser stun gun. Some officers were injured.
Mrs Silva, who was of Italian descent, was pronounced dead at the scene.
One line of inquiry for detectives is understood to be that the man was inspired by recent footage of terrorists beheading two American journalists in Syria.
Some residents claimed last night that the suspect was a local man who had converted to Islam last year, but those claims could not be verified. Detectives said they had ruled out terrorism.
Terrified neighbors described the scene:
Freda Odame, 30, a catering worker, said she heard a commotion and pulled back her curtains to see a man in his mid-20s with a knife.
“Someone was shouting and the door was banging. I could hear the screaming but I could not hear what he was saying,” she said.
“I could see that he had a big curved knife, about the size of an arm’s length and he was crouching as if frantically searching for something. He had a crazed look in his eyes so I closed my curtains because I was scared.
Det Chief Insp John Sandlin, leading the investigation, stated:
“We are confident that we are not looking for anyone else at this stage. Whilst it is too early to speculate on what the motive behind this attack was I am confident, based on the information currently available to me, that it is not terrorist related.”
Update: The identity of the suspect has been released: Nick Salvadore, 25 years old, an aspiring cage fighter who converted to Islam five years ago.