Russia's most prolific serial killer will return to court this month charged with killing his alleged 82nd and 83rd victims.
Evil sex attacker Mikhail Popkov, 57 who has been dubbed ‘The Werewolf’, will be transported from his high security prison cell to a courtroom five time zones away on the otherside of the country.
The former police officer has already confessed to the murders, and was even filmed showing officers where he attacked victim, Natalya Zvereva in a Siberian forest.
Popkov is currently serving life in prison for killing a total of 78 women, but earlier admitted to three more, taking his toll to 81.
He has since confessed to murdering two more women in the 1990s which he will now go on trial for.
He told officers 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.
Police believe he 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.
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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.
Popkov raped most of his victims aged 18 to 50 before killing them with axes, hammers, knives, screwdrivers and spades.
He is now serving a life sentence with no parole in a penal colony where he was put to work making face masks during the pandemic.
“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.
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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.
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“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.
He has claimed he wanted to “cleanse” the city of “prostitutes”.
"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.”
There is concern in Russia that Popkov is rationing his confessions so he is regularly moved back to the Siberian crime scenes from his hard labour penal colony.
Torbeyevsky Tsentral where he is locked up, is a bleak Mordovia region thousands of miles away.
“I had been working in Torbeyevsky Tsentral for 10 months and just wanted a vacation, so I made a confession,” he said.
“I knew that I would be brought to Irkutsk.”
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