Russian serial killer found guilty of 56 further murders | News | DW | 10.12.2018
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Russian serial killer found guilty of 56 further murders

A court in the far eastern city of Irkutsk has convicted a former policeman of 56 murders. He was handed a life sentence and deprived of his pension. He was already serving a life sentence for another 22 murders.

A former policeman was found guilty by a Russian court on Monday of committing 56 murders. He is already serving a life sentence for killing 22 women, which makes him one of Russia's most prolific serial killers.

The court in the Siberian city of Irkutsk found Mikhail Popkov "guilty of killing 56 people between 1992 and 2007,"  according to a statement from the Irkutsk regional prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors said Popkov "has a pathological attraction to killing people." He was also found guilty of raping 10 of the victims.

He received a second life sentence on top of the one he was already serving and was also formally deprived of his police officer's pension.

Read more: What makes a serial killer?

In 2015, Popkov was found guilty of killing 22 women. He confessed to 59 further murders later but was only convicted of 56 of them on Monday because the investigators had not managed to prove three of the crimes took place, according to Interfax news agency which cited the court's press service.

Intense investigation

Popkov was caught in 2012 after investigators re-examined the case and carried out DNA testing of residents. They focused on those who drove a make of car that matched tracks found at crime scenes.

In a 2017 interview with Russia's Meduza website, Popkov said he gave women lifts and targeted those who were drunk or living in a way he saw as immoral, saying that "any society condemns the behavior of a debauched woman."

Investigators said they uncovered the remains of some of the victims' bodies based on Popkov's account. They also recovered murder weapons including axes, chisels and knives.

He killed his victims while he was off-duty around his home city of Angarsk near Irkutsk, often after offering them rides late at night, and sometimes in a police car.

The number of murders for which he has been convicted is more than the total of several notorious murderers in Russia and the ex-Soviet Union.

The so called "Chessboard Killer" Alexander Pichushkin was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for 48 murders and Andrei Chikatilo was convicted of 52 Soviet-era murders.

av/msh (AFP, AP)

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