Crime & the Law

Mentally ill cage fighter who killed an 82 year old grandmother in Edmonton detained for indefinite hospital treatment

CCTV captures Nicholas Salvador in Nightinglae Road, Edmonton, threatens a couple in a car. Image: Met Police

A mentally ill cage fighter who beheaded a grandmother with a machete in her own back garden has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity by a jury at the Old Bailey.

25 year old Nicholas Salvador has been sentenced to a hospital order under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act and a restriction order under Section 41 with an indefinite time limit.

Salvador has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Nicholas Salvador is caught on CCTV in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, carrying a machete and a wooden pole. Image: Met Police

Nicholas Salvador is caught on CCTV in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, carrying a machete and a wooden pole. Image: Met Police

He attacked 82 year old Palmira Silva with a 24-inch blade and wooden pole in the garden of her home in Nightingale Road, Edmonton in September last year.

Enfield Inspector, Doug Skinner, said:

I knew that Salvador was armed, had already killed and that many people were in immediate danger. Nothing can fully prepare you for that type of call or the scene we encountered.

The Old Bailey heard how Salvador, usually of Gilda Avenue, Enfield, had attacked two friends trying to escape his violent behaviour.

Salvador managed to smash two of the vehicle’s windows, as the car’s engine twice stalled, before the pair could escape and alert police.

Within minutes Enfield borough officers arrived at the scene with the MPS Air Support Unit capturing the scene from above. Armed units were also immediately dispatched.

The Met’s Air Support Unit captured the incident as it unfolded. Salvador is seen jumping garden fences, forcing entry into properties and attacking cars.

Salvador was seen smashing through garden fences before attacking Palmira Silva.

Police helicopter cameras capture Salvador walking away from victim, Palmira Silva, breaking fences, approaching gardens and playing children. It also shows Met officers rescuing local residents.

Police did all they could to distract Salvador and rescue nearby residents who included several young children.

He was eventually Tasered.

25 year old Nicholas Salvador. Custody image. Met Police.

25 year old Nicholas Salvador. Custody image. Met Police.

In sentencing the Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC told Salvador:

It is established beyond any doubt that you killed Mrs Silva in an attack of extraordinary brutality and ferocity. You thought you were encountering some demonic force which had taken on a human form. You could not have been more deluded. Nobody who saw it could forget the mild and trusting way Mrs Silva approached you over the wall while you were brandishing a knife. This gentle, intelligent 82-year-old lady should have been able to live her life in peace and with security, proud in the achievements of others, but that was not to be.

The judge commended all the police officers who worked to protect the public when they captured and restrained Salvador.

He singled out PC Steven Robertson for climbing on to a roof to help bring two children to safety.

Commander Simon Letchford, said after the hearing:

This was a horrendous and vicious attack which robbed a family of a much-loved vibrant mother and grandmother.

On behalf of the Met I would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family of Palmira Silva.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the officers who dealt with the incident and faced a truly shocking scene.

82 year old Palmira Silva. Image: Met Police.

82 year old Palmira Silva. Image: Met Police.

In a victim impact statement Mrs Silva‘s daughter, Celestina Muis, said:

Palmira had a full life, loving her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. She was very much the glue that held us all together. Our lives have been torn apart knowing what happened to my mother.

Mrs Silva’s granddaughter Christina said:

Every day I wake up and replay the attack on my grandmother in my head. Since the attack I have completely changed from the person I used to be. The thought of being alone in the house terrifies me.

The 6ft, heavily built 25-year-old believed he was killing ‘demons’ when he ran amok with a knife and broom handle, tearing down fences and kicking down neighbours’ doors in Edmonton, North London, on the afternoon of 4th September last year.


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