The body of a woman brutally killed in Tenerife is taken from the scene of the attack [Reuters]

A British woman has been stabbed and decapitated while shopping on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

The woman, in her 60s according to local Spanish media, was at a Chinese supermarket in the resort town of Los Cristianos when the attack occurred on Friday morning, witnesses said.

The attacker, who police identified as a 28-year-old Bulgarian man, then walked out of the store, carrying the woman's head.

An unnamed shopper told local news: "I saw the head fly and the guy was carrying the head in his hand. They were going to catch him, and he tossed it in the air and dropped it near the phone booth."

Another witness told Atlas TV: "It was a horrible thing, you couldn't even see the face because there was blood all over it, all over the hair, everything was covered in blood, you couldn't see the face."

Security guards and passers-by tackled the alleged killer as he tried to run away, and security had to hold people back from attacking the man after he was captured.

A foreign office official in London said it had been informed of the attack.

"We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Tenerife and are urgently investigating," she said.

Source: Agencies