A British man who beheaded his 82-year-old neighbor in her London garden because he believed she was an incarnation of Adolf Hitler is not guilty by reason of insanity, a jury ruled.
Nicholas Salvador will be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric hospital after both prosecution and defense argued he was mentally ill.
The 25-year-old decapitated Palmira Silva in September during a nightmare rampage through the North London neighborhood of Edmonton.
The machete-wielding man broke into homes and hopped fences during a terrifying 45-minute rampage.
He also beheaded two cats, punched through one backyard to the next with a machete and came just feet away from children playing before their mother rushed them inside, police video from the chase showed.
Psychiatrists testified that Salvador believed Silva was an evil supernatural being — either Adolf Hitler back from the dead or a demon disguised as an elderly woman. He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
CCTV video from a police helicopter caught part of the chase.
Salvador was living just three doors down from Silva when he lost his job in early September, BBC News reported.
On Sept. 4, he left his home with a machete and long wooden stick, police said. He hopped hedges and cut through fences to pass through his neighbors' yards, video showed.
On his way to Silva's garden, he beheaded two house cats. When he got to her yard, the warm and trusting woman approached him, undeterred by the knife he was carrying. He stabbed her and severed her head from her body, police said.
At one point, he came within yards of a group of children playing in a backyard. Their mother pushed them into the house just as he was jumping over the fence, police said.
Police caught up with Salvador 45 minutes into his rampage.
"We genuinely thought he would kill those children and we were filled with utter terror," Inspector Doug Skinner testified.
At another point he approached a car while brandishing his knife. The driver quickly sped away, video showed.
Salvador believed Silva was either a demon or Adolf Hitler back from the dead when he killed her last year.
The rampage lasted 45 minutes before police caught up with the machete-wielding man.Silva's family testified about the grandmother and great-grandmother they lost.
"She was very much the glue that held us all together," her daughter Celestina Muis said.
"Every day I wake up and replay the attack on my grandmother in my head," her granddaughter Christina Silva said in court. "Since the attack I have completely changed from the person I used to be."