Sunday 22 April 2018

Accomplices who 'encouraged' nanny to behead child 'still at large'

Nanny who beheaded child tells court: 'Allah ordered me to do it'

Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, looks on inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, looks on inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, looks on inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on February 29, 2016 and charged her with murder, in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, yawns inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on February 29, 2016 and charged her with murder, in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, sits inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on February 29, 2016 and charged her with murder, in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova, a nanny suspected of murdering a child in her care, sits inside a defendants' cage as she attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, March 2, 2016. Russian police wrestled to the ground a woman in a hijab brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on February 29, 2016 and charged her with murder, in an incident that stirred fears of an Islamist terrorist attack
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova - a mum of three - showed officers the Moscow flat where she reportedly strangled Nastya Meshcheryakova, before beheading her with a kitchen knife
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova - a mum of three - showed officers the Moscow flat where she reportedly strangled Nastya Meshcheryakova, before beheading her with a kitchen knife
Gyulchekhra Bobokulova - a mum of three - showed officers the Moscow flat where she reportedly strangled Nastya Meshcheryakova, before beheading her with a kitchen knife
A police officer (R) prepares to detain a woman, suspected of murdering a young child, near Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2016, in this still image taken from video
A police detain a woman, suspected of murdering a young child, near Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2016, in this still image taken from video
Police and the Investigative Committee cars secure an area abound a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station
Russian police officers secure an area near to a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station. The Investigative Committee released a statement saying a woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing a child aged 3 or 4 in an apartment near the metro station in northwestern Moscow and then setting the apartment on fire
A Russian police officer stands at the site where a woman suspected of murdering a young child was detained, near Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2016. Russian investigators said on Monday they had arrested a nanny and charged her with murdering a young child in her care after local media broadcast footage of a woman brandishing a severed head near a busy Moscow metro station. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

A nanny who murdered a four-year-old child in Moscow was encouraged to commit the crime by instigators who are still at large, investigators have said.

Police on Monday wrestled to the ground Gulchekhra Bobokulova, a 38-year-old divorced mother of three from the Muslim-majority ex-Soviet state of Uzbekistan, after she wandered around a Moscow street holding the infant's severed head in the air and shouting Islamist slogans.

Eyewitnesses said at the time they believed she was carrying out a terrorist act, but since her detention, Russian investigators have raised the possibility she might be suffering from mental illness.

Investigators said she had been working as a nanny for a Moscow family and that she had murdered and beheaded one of the children in her care before setting fire to the family flat and fleeing.

Russian police officers secure an area near to a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station. The Investigative Committee released a statement saying a woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing a child aged 3 or 4 in an apartment near the metro station in northwestern Moscow and then setting the apartment on fire
Russian police officers secure an area near to a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station. The Investigative Committee released a statement saying a woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing a child aged 3 or 4 in an apartment near the metro station in northwestern Moscow and then setting the apartment on fire

While she has made no attempt to deny the crime, investigators told a judge on Wednesday morning that they believed Ms Bobokulova did not act on her own initiative.

Read More: 'I am a terrorist' - nanny holds severed head of child outside metro station

A police officer (R) prepares to detain a woman, suspected of murdering a young child, near Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2016, in this still image taken from video
A police officer (R) prepares to detain a woman, suspected of murdering a young child, near Oktyabrskoye Pole metro station in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2016, in this still image taken from video

State television channels did not report the incident, a move that drew accusations of censorship from some opposition activists but which the Kremlin endorsed, saying it would have been wrong to broadcast such "horrific images".

Bobokulova told reporters on her way into the courtroom on Wednesday that Allah had ordered her to do what she did but that she had repented and agreed with her arrest.

Police and the Investigative Committee cars secure an area abound a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station
Police and the Investigative Committee cars secure an area abound a subway station in Moscow on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Russian news agencies report that police have arrested a woman who was waving the severed head of a small child outside a Moscow subway station

Read More: Police arrest woman seen waving child's head in Moscow

Sat in the metal cage reserved for defendants in Russian courts, Bobokulova waved and said:

"I am Allah's messenger. Hello everyone."

Her head was uncovered and she appeared relaxed, occasionally yawning, in contrast to Monday when she had been dressed in black and wearing a hijab.

MILITANT ISLAMIST THREAT

Government officials have issued frequent warnings about the danger that Islamic State militants pose to Russia, especially in the light of Russia's military intervention in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Investigators have opened a criminal case against Bobokulova, saying they formally suspect her of murder. They have not mentioned suspecting her of any terrorism-related offence.

The court agreed to detain her for two months while the investigation continued after hearing that she presented an "exceptional risk to public safety".

Investigators have said she will undergo psychiatric testing.

An investigator said that to date no one else had been identified who was involved in the crime. The judge spoke of possible accomplices still being at large and hiding from the police, without giving details.

Some rights activists have warned of a possible backlash in Russia against migrant workers from Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan who have in the past been targeted for beatings by far-right groups.

A Communist Party website campaigning for tighter migration rules displayed a picture on Wednesday of a black-clad woman wearing a burka holding a severed head inside a red circle with a line through it to indicate such individuals should be banned.

Reuters

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