Siberian policeman convicted for 56 more murders
A Siberian police officer labelled Russia’s most prolific non-political mass murderer in recent years, has been convicted for killing 56 more people, bringing the total victims to at least 78.
A court in Siberia found Mikhail Popkov (pictured) of Angarsk guilty of the murders between 1994 and 2000 and sentenced him to life in jail.
The 54-year-old, nicknamed “the werewolf” and the “Angarsk maniac” by the Russian media, would offer victims late-night rides in his car.
Regional prosecutor Aleksandr Shkinev said: “There is no doubt that Popkov committed these murders. He clearly showed the places where the bodies were buried, and, by an earring, tattoo or some other feature, described the murders and victims in detail.”
Shkinev said 14 of the victims were still unidentified.
Popkov, who was detained in 2012 after a DNA match on his car, is already serving life for 22 other murders.
The victims were all women between 15 and 40 apart from one man, another police officer. In three cases, he was on patrol in his police car.
Popkov killed his victims around Angarsk in the Irkutsk region with an axe, shovel or hammer, dumping their mutilated bodies in forests, beside the road and in a cemetery. At least 10 were raped.
After the corpses were discovered, he sometimes returned to the scene as a police officer.
He claimed to be a “cleaner” who was “purging” Angarsk of “immoral” women or prostitutes.
He told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda: “They left their husbands and children at home and went out [drinking] as if for the last time. Of course, nobody is without sin. But one must not hurt one’s dearest.”
He added that he was “disappointed” by the loss of his police pension.
Some women were found alive but later died in hospital.
He will be sent to the “black dolphin” high-security prison on the remote border with Kazakhstan which houses Russia’s most brutal criminals. In 1996, Russia introduced a moratorium on the death penalty.
Popkov goes down as Russia’s most prolific serial killer in at least a century, not including political leaders.
The conviction appeared to confirm claims by Popkov that he had killed 84 times, but three cases were excluded because of a lack of evidence.
He overtook “chessboard killer” Alexander Pichushkin, who murdered 48 times, and Andrei Chikatilo, who killed 52.
The police lieutenant retired in 1998 was diagnosed as sane but with a “pathological attraction to killing people”, according to prosecutors.
Mikhail Popkov. Picture credit: YouTube