A grandmother has been decapitated by a man wielding a machete.

Police were called to the scene in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, at approximately 1pm yesterday afternoon. They found the body of 82 year-old Palmira Silva collapsed in the back garden of a house and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police cordoned off Nightingale Road

Police cordoned off Nightingale Road

Police arrested a 25 year-old man on suspicion of murder; he is currently being held in police custody.. Officers said they do not yet know whether the suspect and victim knew each other, but there is no evidence to suggest the killing was terrorism-related.

During the suspect’s arrest, officers used a Taser and one officer, believed to be a firearms officer, sustained a borken wrist.

Police were originally called to the scene after receiving reports of an armed man, possibly carrying a knife or other bladed-weapon, attacking an animal, thought to be a dog or a cat. Police are also investigating reports that two other people at a house on the same road were the victims of an attempted attack by the same suspect; the pair were not thought to be hurt.

Police said forensic officers would be working at the scene for hours

Police said forensic officers would be working at the scene for hours

Commander Simon Letchford explained to reporters that officers had distracted the suspect, allowing the evacuation of nearby properties:

“Officers had to do everything they could to make other people safe and evacuate houses and put their lives on the line to make sure this individual did not cause further harm.” The suspect was “cornered” in one house, while police officers broke windows to allow neighbours to escape to freedom.

One resident of Nightingale Road, 19 year-old Ahmed Yusuf said: “At first there were two police cars, then all of a sudden there were twenty. The police said to drop everything. I said ‘What’s going on?’ and they said there’s a guy jumping over gardens.”

Palmira Silva was 82

Palmira Silva was 82

Another neighbour, 30 year-old Freda Odame 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.”

Read our original coverage here and an update here.