A Russian ‘cannibal’ pensioner known as Granny Ripper, who gave children sweets made from the flesh of her victims, has died of Covid-19 before the end of her serial killer trial.
Sofia Zhukova, 81, a retired pig slaughterer, was accused of butchering schoolgirl Anastasia Alexeenko, seven, whose severed head was found in 2005 with a severely battered face.
She was also charged with murdering and dismembering a 52-year-old male street cleaner and janitor in the Russian city Khabarovsk and killing a woman friend, aged 77.
Sofia Zhukova, 81, a retired pig slaughterer, was accused of butchering schoolgirl Anastasia Alexeenko, seven
Separately, police were investigating at least four more unsolved suspected murders linked to the killer.
Zhukova became infected with Covid-19 in a detention jail and died on December 29 after being moved to a hospital, it was disclosed today.
In one hearing, the court was told that she kidnapped a young schoolgirl and held her for three weeks. The child was murdered the day before her severed head was found near Zhukova’s flat, it was alleged.
‘Human meat’ was scattered nearby and eaten by stray dogs.
A phone call assuring Anastasia’s mother, Natalya, that the girl was still alive had been made from the sausage factory where the pensioner worked as a pig slaughterer, the court was told.
The girl’s DNA was found in Zhukova’s bathroom 14 years after the alleged killing, forensic experts found.
Local children found his severed arm in a rubbish skip while other remains were stashed in plastic bags in a container.
Neighbors said she even turned her victims into food and offered them around to children.
One neighbor named Tatyana said: ‘We always found it strange that despite being surly and unfriendly, she would often find the time to cook things for the local children.
‘They were always meat dishes. Sometimes she gave them to the adults, she bought me and my husband plates with jellied meat.’
Internal organs of the janitor, Vasily Shlyakhtich, a Ukrainian immigrant who was her tenant, were allegedly discovered in the granny’s fridge in 2019, but she denied being a cannibal.
She said in evidence: ‘I killed the janitor, but he raped me. What do you think I should have done?
‘I chopped him up with an ax.’
Local children found his severed arm in a rubbish skip while other remains were stashed in plastic bags at a skip.
A law enforcement source said: ‘The bowels and other inner organs of the man were found in her fridge – and she threw away the bones. Dogs smelled the blood and carried the body parts all around the area.’
Her trial had been delayed last year after she retracted detailed confessions about killing the girl and elderly woman, whose body was never found.
The judge ordered technical changes in the indictments but she remained accused of the three murders when she died.