Ex-cop convicted of murdering 56 women in Russia

Ex-cop convicted of murdering 56 women in Russia

Ex-cop convicted of murdering 56 women in Russia

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.

Popkov offered rides to women late at night, sometimes in his police vehicle, while off-duty around his city of Angarsk near Irkutsk, 4,200km east of Moscow.

Mikhail Popkov, 53, murdered 55 women and a policeman near Irkutsk.

Local reports say Popkov confessed to 59 murders, however, police could only pin 56 on him, with DNA samples found on one of the victims helping corroborate Popkov's claims. Their bodies, usually naked and with signs of rape, were later found around local forests, at cemeteries or by the roadside.

Popkov described himself as a "cleaner" who was purging his home city of prostitutes.

Prosecutor Alexander Shkinyov said Popkov would sentence his victims to death "as soon as they agreed to share a drink with him".

Psychiatric tests run on Popkov have concluded that he is sane. In three cases he was on duty in his police auto.

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He was arrested in 2012 during a re-examination of cold case evidence, which included DNA testing all people known to drive a specific type of auto whose tracks were found at the murder scenes.

The victims were all women between the ages of 16 and 40 apart from one male, a policeman. His killing spree took place between 1994 and 2010 near the Siberian town of Angarsk where he served as a police officer until his resignation in 1998.

He said he had targeted women who were drunk or he viewed as immoral.

The owners' DNA was then checked against sperm found on one of the victims, which helped police identify Popkov as a suspect.

As part of his sentence - a rare case in Russian Federation of a convicted murderer being given a second life sentence - Popkov was also deprived of his police pension.

"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.

He was arrested in 2012 en route to Vladivostok, where he was going to purchase a new vehicle, the BBC reported.

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