Ex-cop jailed for 56 more murders
Russian serial killer now convicted over deaths of 78 women
Post-Soviet Russia's most notorious serial killer, known as the Angarsk Maniac, was given a second life sentence by a Siberian court yesterday after he was found guilty of killing 56 more victims over a period of 15 years.
Mikhail Popkov worked as a police officer in the Siberian city of Angarsk and was sentenced to life in prison last year when he was found guilty of murdering 22 women.
After sentencing, he admitted to the murders of an additional 59 women.
Popkov called himself a "cleaner", the Interfax news agency reported, and claimed that he only targeted "women who led loose lifestyles".
Lead investigator Yevgeny Karchevsky said that Popkov's motive was misogyny.
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, Popkov began killing after finding his wife cheated on him.
Local police began searching for a serial killer as early as 1992, but it wasn't until the late 1990s that patterns began to emerge in a string of violent, sexual murders in the region around Angarsk.
A common theme was track marks from a Lada Niva, a car used by police nationwide.
From the early 1990s to 2010, Popkov would don a police uniform and drive his police car on night-time hunts for women at bus stops and other public places, using his cover to offer them a ride home.
He would instead drive them to the woods, rape them, and then murder them.
"He willingly described all of this," Mr Karchevsky told RIA Novosti, "with pathos and even with gusto."
The investigator added that, setting aside his crimes, Popkov was a sane, well-educated man.
"These were skills of psychological manipulation," he said.
Mr Karchevsky said that the investigation into Popkov was the first of its kind in Russia, requiring years of work, DNA testing, and witness testimonies spanning the globe.
As part of yesterday's second life sentence, Popkov was stripped of his retired police title.
Popkov's lawyer says he intends to appeal that part of the verdict, given his co-operation in the investigation.
The ruling deprives him of a 24,000-rouble (€315) monthly police pension.
The court found Popkov, from the eastern Siberian city of Angarsk, guilty of the murders between 1994 and 2000 and sentenced him to life in prison.
Popkov, who was arrested in 2012, is already serving life for 22 other killings.
The verdict makes him Russia's most prolific serial killer in at least the past century.
Local police have for years been investigating murders in the Irkutsk region, where dozens of women were raped and killed in secluded spots.
In order to help the probe, authorities ended up taking DNA samples from 230,000 residents of Angarsk. Sperm found on one of the victims led the investigators to the killer.
Psychiatric tests run on the police lieutenant who retired in 1998 have concluded that he is sane. Popkov's lawyer told Russian news agencies that his 54-year-old client would appeal the verdict as well as the motion to strip him of his police pension, which he has been receiving despite the 2015 guilty verdict.