Russia’s worst serial killer ‘The Werewolf’ convicted of killing his 83rd victim

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Russia's bloodiest serial killer has been convicted of murdering his 82nd and 83rd female victims.

Former policeman Mikhail Popkov, 57, a sex attacker nicknamed ‘The Werewolf’, was sentenced to nine years eight months in jail – on top of his two previous life sentences.

The latest convictions relate to killings in 1995.

Popkov was convicted in two earlier trials for killing a total of 78 women, then admitted to three more, taking his toll to 81.

He claimed he wanted to "cleanse" his city Angarsk of prostitutes.

The 82nd victim was Natalya Zvereva who was sexually attacked and murdered in a Siberian forest.

Married father-of-one Popkov told interrogators he raped Zvereva then “we quarrelled and I murdered her.

“I hit her on the top of her head…. She fell down and did not show any signs of life.”

He threw her body into a river, he said.

The name of the 83rd victim was not disclosed.

Police believe Popkov – also called the Angarsk Maniac – may eventually confess to dozens more victims, with one investigator forecasting his macabre murder toll could be “closer to 200”.

Married father-of-one Popkov conducted a reign of terror against women out alone between 1992 and 2010 in his home city Angarsk.

A chilling video from his family archive shows the killer in the 1990s walking towards the camera clutching a knife and reciting a post-war nursery rhyme based on Nazi prisoners of war attacking locals.

“I will slash you. I will beat you. Now it’s your turn,” he says with a sinister smile.

A psychiatric evaluation diagnosed Popkov with homicidal mania, “a condition when a person has an irrational desire to kill someone”, reported TASS.

Nevertheless, the mass murderer was declared sane.

He will never be freed from jail.

During the pandemic he was put to work making face masks before travelling through five time zones to face his latest murder trial in Irkutsk.

“There were moments when I thought the death penalty was better,” he has said.

Russia has had a moratorium on use of the death penalty since 1996. Before this, the condemned were shot to the back of the head by an executioner.

Speaking earlier from behind bars in Irkutsk, Popkov expressed 'regret' if not remorse for his butchery.

“I have a lot to regret. For example, that none of this had happened, that I had not done (these things),” he said.

“It is a natural desire of any person – to regret.

“I have had a lot of time to think [about it].”

Asked how many women he had killed in total, he was evasive.

“I did not count the number of my victims,” he said.

Popkov routinely used his police car to offer lifts to lone women as they walked home after a night out in Angarsk.

"I rid the world of fallen women,” he said.

Lt-Col Evgeny Karchevsky, lead investigator on the mass murder case, has said: “I am more than sure that Popkov committed 100-plus crimes, if not closer to 200.

“It was impossible for him to stop halfway.”

He is the only Russian sentenced to two life sentences.

  • Serial Killers
  • Russia

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