United Kingdom

Toyboy lover, 26, beat retired British legal secretary, 62, to death with a shovel in Bulgaria

A British woman who retired to rural Bulgaria with dreams of a quiet life was allegedly brutally murdered after dumping a much younger local man on an internet dating site. 

MailOnline has learned that former legal secretary Tina Eyre, 62, was stalked and harassed by her suspected killer in the weeks leading to her death, after he refused to accept their brief relationship was over.

She was discovered stabbed and beaten to death with a shovel at home on February 18 as her former 26-year-old boyfriend - who was apparently digging her grave in the garden - fled the property.

Her body was in a pool of blood in a barn and the suspect was arrested after being confronted inside the house by some of her British expat friends who had called round to check on her. 

Tina Eyre (left), 62, a British retired legal secretary, was found dead at her home in Bulgaria. Her former lover Denislav Runevski (right), 26, is in police custody accused of her murder 

Tina, who was affectionately known to friends as 'Roxy', moved to the sleepy Bulgarian village Novo Selo, where, attracted to the simple way of life, she bought a smallholding (pictured) 

Tina's body was found in a barn at her home (pictured) by ex-pats in the village who were sent to check on her welfare after the local postmistress said she hadn't seen Roxy for sometime 

Tina bought the property in Novo Selo (pictured) - a three hour drive from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia - four years ago after a 17 year career as a legal secretary for law firm Clifford Chance

Ms Eyre, originally from Gloucestershire, moved to Bulgaria in 2016 after several years working for top law firm Clifford Chance in Hong Kong, and fell in love with the simple pace of life in Novo Selo, roughly three hours drive from the capital Sofia.

She made friends with some of the village's 25 or so British expats as well as the Bulgarian locals.

Tina (pictured) settled well into village life and made friends with the 25 ex-pats there

Although living alone, she occupied her time by playing cards with villagers, baking Chinese cakes, looking after her three piglets, which she kept in a pen behind her home, and taking her four rescue dogs for walks in the rugged surrounding countryside.

But events began to take a darker turn last Summer when Tina, known as Roxy to friends, told them that a man she met online refused to stop pestering her, even after she finished with him.

The stalker - understood to be Denislav Runevski, 26 - would bombard her with phone calls and text messages and even turn up unannounced at her home. 

They had been out on a few dates but Ms Eyre soon decided he was 'not right' for her and did not want to continue seeing him. 

Roxy is said to have gone for a drink with him in a local bar, where he became embroiled in an angry row with the owner. 

A friend revealed: 'They only dated a handful of times, I think if I remember around 10 dates only. 

'Roxy became aware that she wasn't entirely comfortable with him in the way he behaved. 

'She stopped seeing him but he then continued to harass her by phone texts and turning up at her house. 

'As far as we are aware - at least up until her death - he was never previously violent to her, but he had been told to stay away many times.  

Tina (right) is said to have gone on a handful of dates with the much younger Runevsk (left) before deciding to call their fling off. He is said to have taken it badly and begun stalking her

On one of their first dates, Tina and Runevski are said to have gone for a drink at this bar inb Novo Selo, where he allegedly became embroiled in an angry row with the owner

'I don't know if Roxy told the police about this because she didn't speak Bulgarian fluently and the language can be a barrier, but she was frightened of him, and had voiced her concerns about him to us on a few occasions. 

'She said he was 'not right' for her and although I never met him myself I have been told by other locals in the village who did that he was not a nice person.'

Police believe Runevski had travelled 40-minutes south to Novo Selo from his home in the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa the day before Roxy was murdered.

They say he broke into an abandoned house next door with a bag of energy drinks and snacks before sleeping on an old bed left in a crumbling bedroom upstairs. 

The following day he is thought to have gone into the garden, crumpled down a small section of flimsy wire fence and climbed over into Roxy's property.

He is believed to have killed her with a knife and the same shovel that he had used to start digging her grave in her back garden when he was disturbed by two of Roxy's friends.

She had been due to pay off an electricity bill at the post office on February 16 but never showed up and all attempts at contacting her over a 48-hour period had failed.

Mayor Hristo Hristov had been alerted by the local post mistress and asked Colin Silverwood and another British expat if they could go round to Roxy's home to check on her. 

Police believe Runevski travelled 40-minutes from his home town of Gorna Oryahovitsa to Novo Selo the day before Roxy was murdered and stayed in this abandoned home 

Police believe he broke into an abandoned house next door to Tina's (pictured) with a bag of energy drinks and snacks before sleeping on an old bed left in a crumbling bedroom upstairs

They knocked but got no answer so called round to another of Roxy's friends, who had keys to her property, and the three of them returned and let themselves in.

Recalling the moment he came face to face with the intruder, Mr Silverwood, 74, said: 'We'd gone through the gate into Roxy's yard and each split up in different directions looking for her.

'I went into the house and upstairs to her bathroom and tried to get in but there was someone blocking the door.

'I instinctively thought that it was Roxy, that she had maybe slipped and fallen unconscious or had had a heart attack and had collapsed on the other side of the door.

British ex-pat Colin Silverwood (above), 74, was one of the men to discover Tina's body

'I called out and this young man emerged from the bathroom. He'd been throwing his shoulder into the door to stop me from getting in.

'I asked him what he was doing there and he replied that he was looking after Roxy's dogs. I then asked where Roxy was and he said that she'd gone into town.

'But his behaviour and demeanour made me very suspicious. There was something very off about him.

'His trainers and trousers were caked in mud and we'd seen a shovel out in the garden as we came into the house. He'd obviously been digging just before we'd knocked on the door.

'I reached into my phone and took a photo of him and that's when he ran out of the house and into the village.

'I sent that photo to a police contact of mine and it was distributed to other officers in the area to try and find him.'

Mr Silverwood, who has been living in Novo Selo for 14-years after moving there from his native Leeds, added: 'The house hadn't been ransacked and there was money on the kitchen table which the man hadn't taken so what the motive was I can't say but it didn't appear to be a burglary.

'I'd never seen the man before which is why I asked him who he was and what he was doing there.'

Runevski was discovered hiding in the home of a local elderly man about 400 yards away along a dirt track.

He currently remains in police custody but has yet to be charged because officers are awaiting the results of forensic tests.

Roxy's Opel Corsa car, meanwhile, remains parked outside her pink-coloured house, next to a pile of recently chopped fire wood.

Runevski is now being held at the police station in nearby Veliko Tarnona (pictured) where he is accused of Tina's murder. He is yet to be charged as officers are await results of forensic tests

Her dogs are still living in the back yard and are cared for and fed by villagers but her piglets have been given to another local family. 

Speaking at the police headquarters in Veliko Tărnovo, policemen Tsvetomir Tsonev, who is working on the case, today confirmed the main suspect in Roxy's murder is Runevsky.

He said: 'Roxy had been stabbed and hit with a shovel. Her friends had disturbed the suspect as he was using the same shovel to dig what we think was her grave.

'He had been hiding out in the empty house, to the right of where Roxy lived, the evening before and that is how we believe he got access to her home.

'They had met on an internet dating site and had gone out a few times but it's my understanding that Roxy no longer wanted to see this man and he refused to accept that, ringing her phone many times and turning up at her house uninvited.'

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