Details have begun to emerge about the man arrested for the murder of a great grandmother beheaded in her back garden.
He was named locally as Nicholas Salvadore, a 25-year-old would-be cage fighter who is believed to be a Muslim convert, who had been living a few doors from 82-year-old Palmira Silva.
Salvadore was under arrest and under armed guard in hospital today after the events in a street in north London yesterday. Detectives say they have ruled out terrorism as a motive.
Italian-born Mrs Silva, who owned a local café in Edmonton with her son Tony for more than 30 years, was found dead in the back garden of her home in Nightingale Road yesterday. Neighbours said a man dressed in black had decapitated cats with a foot-long machete-like blade and smashed the window of a car before running through rear gardens banging on doors and windows.
One told how he heard him shouting “the cats have stolen my lighter” as he hacked an animal to pieces.
Salvadore, who was known locally as “Fat Nick”, had been a friend of one of Mrs Silva’s neighbours and had been staying with them in recent weeks.
As people fled, Mrs Silva, described as a frail “sweet lady”, was caught in her garden and attacked.
- Neighbouring houses were evacuated by officers who used metal batons to smash front windows before lifting residents to safety. The suspect fled into the street as armed officers stormed through the back of the property where Mrs Silva was killed.
He was cornered and shot with a Taser stun gun before being brought down by more than 20 officers. One officer broke his wrist and others suffered injuries with one senior officer saying they had “put their lives on the line”.
Police were called to Nightingale Road at 1 pm yesterday. Scotland Yard said officers distracted the man after he was seen going through back gardens while they evacuated people.
Restaurant worker Freda Odame, 30, said she was about to go to sleep after working a night shift when she heard a commotion. She said: “I heard shouting and banging and I opened my curtains and saw a guy holding a knife in a back garden a few doors along.
“He was screaming, I couldn’t make out the words. Then the police knocked on the door and said ‘You’ve got to get out, you’ve got to get out’.”
Lewis Young, 24, a tattoo artist, said he knew Salvadore at school and said he had been given the name “fat Nick” because of his huge frame.
He said: “At school he was just a normal bloke. He has seemed pretty cool. It’s just shocking he could have done something like this. It’s so random and strange, I just can’t believe it.
Locals claimed Salvadore had converted to Islam last year.
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Letchford said: “Officers put themselves in extreme danger to protect the public, to ensure that his behaviour was stopped as soon as it possibly could be.”