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Hellesdon mourns tragic death of murdered Norwich grandmother Jennifer Mills-Westley

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 May 2011

Jennifer Mills-Westley

Jennifer Mills-Westley

A community in mourning following the tragic death of one of its own has prayed for the family of Jennifer Mills-Westley who was brutally murdered in Tenerife.

Former Norfolk County Council road safety officer Mrs Mills-Westley, who was viciously stabbed and decapitated in an attack at a shop in the popular holiday resort of Los Cristianos on Friday, lived in Hellesdon before she went to Tenerife.

The Hellesdon community has been rocked by the tragedy with even those that did not know Mrs Mills-Westley personally in a state of shock.

Those feelings prompted Enid Jones-Blackett, former curate of the Hellesdon churches, to say prayers for the community and for the family of Mrs Mills-Westley at a holy communion service at St Mary’s Church, Low Road, Hellesdon.

She said: “Lots of people in Hellesdon have approached me who have known her or who didn’t know her but who feel upset by what’s happened to one of our community.

“It’s traumatic because it’s her community it hits home and has made a lot of people upset. We’re concerned that the family have to have privacy and we didn’t want to be intrusive, but we said a special prayer.

“We said prayers for those who feel shocked and distressed by what’s happened. We’re sorry about it and as a parish church that’s what we’re here for - we try and keep the community in our prayers and thoughts.”

Frances Hofgartner, 77, from Upper Hellesdon, was one of those to attend yesterday morning’s service. She said: “It was very moving when Enid did that. As a church we feel very sad for them (the family). It’s very tragic - she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s very sad for all the family. A death is hard to deal with anyway but when its a tragic one its even worse.”

Peggy Foster, 83, and her husband Maurice, also 83, who celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary during the service, were also left reeling by what had happened.

Mrs Foster, from Hellesdon, said: “It shocks you rigid when you know that they’ve lived quite close to you for all those years. It just makes it doubly difficult for people to accept. You just can’t begin to imagine how her family are feeling - it’s just such a horrific thing.”

Ginny Smith, 65, church warden of St Mary’s, said: “I don’t believe I’ve ever met her, but never the less we can only sympathise with the family. It’s a dreadful shock, our thoughts are with the family.”

In the days since Mrs Mills-Wetley’s tragic death, former colleagues and friends, including those living in Saracen Road, where she used to live in Hellesdon, have paid tribute to the 60-year-old grandmother-of-five.

Shelagh Gurney, a district, parish and county councillor for Hellesdon, said: “The community here are absolutely shocked by it. It’s such an awful tragedy and as a county councillor for Hellesdon I offer my condolences to her family.”

Tony Adams, a district and parish councillor for Hellesdon, said: “It’s an absolutely tragic and terrible event and you don’t expect that sort of thing to happen, especially in a place like Tenerife. I have to say personally my sincerest and My deepest condolences go to the family.”

Mrs Mills-Westley’s family, including daughter Sarah Mears, from Newton St Faith, have paid tribute to the “generous support” they have received following the brutal killing.

Following the killing 28-year-old Bulgarian Deyan Valentinov Deyanov was arrested on suspicion of her murder. He appeared in court on Sunday and was remanded to the prison Tenerife II. He is currently said to be in the psychiatric unit of the prison.

On Monday it emerged that an arrest warrant for Deyanov had been issued three days before Mrs Mills-Westley was killed.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mrs Mills-Westley? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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