Mikhail Popkov, Russian ex-cop, on trial for 59 murders


A former Russian policeman who was convicted of killing 22 women has gone on trial in the Siberian city of Irkutsk for dozens of other murders.

Mikhail Popkov, 53, has confessed to 59 additional murders between 1992 and 2010, Interfax news agency reports.

If convicted, that would make him Russia's most prolific serial killer in recent history.

He has been dubbed "the werewolf" and the "Angarsk maniac" by Russian media.

Popkov is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2015 of raping and killing 22 women, and attempting to murder two more.

DNA evidence

The murders are said to have taken place in and around his home city of Angarsk, near Irkutsk, both while he was a police officer and after he left the service in 1998.

His victims and alleged victims were all women between the ages of 16 and 40 apart from one male, a policeman.

Prosecutors say Popkov killed them after offering them lifts late at night, sometimes in a police car, while he was off-duty.

He was arrested in 2012 during a re-examination of the evidence, which involved the DNA testing of people who drove a make of car whose tracks were found at the scenes of murders.

If convicted of all 81 murders, the number of victims would exceed those of "chessboard killer" Alexander Pichushkin, who killed 48 people, and Andrei Chikatilo, convicted of 52 murders during the Soviet era.

Image caption Another serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, was convicted of 52 murders during the Soviet era (file photo)

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