A serial killer granny who baked her victims into snacks has died of Covid-19 while awaiting trial.
Sofya Zhukova was awaiting trial after being accused of three murders, and Russian police suspected her of at least four more killings.
One of the 81-year-old’s alleged victims was eight-year-old Anastasia Alexeenko, who had thrown ice cream at the OAP after being told to be quiet.
The schoolgirl’s severed head was found in 2005, and around the same time stray dogs were seen gathering around Zhukova’s apartment to eat “fresh meat” she was throwing out.
But it wasn’t until Zhukov’s 83-year-old lodger Nina Babenko died in 2013 that suspicions were raised that the elderly woman might be a killer.
Under interrogation, she admitted to killing her lodger, and as the police probed deeper, they were shocked when she then allegedly also admitted to killing an eight-year-old girl who disappeared on 14th December 2005.
A spokesman at the Russian Investigative Directorate in the Khabarovsk Territory said: "Criminologists discovered knives and saws on which they discovered traces of the blood of the victim.
"She was arrested for murder, and put in pre-trial detention as the investigation continued.”
When Zhukov was arrested, police found human body parts in her fridge – leading to her being compared to fictional “demon barber” Sweeney Todd, who was said to bake his victims into pies.
Reports say Zhukova had previously worked in a slaughterhouse and as a labourer. Unusually strong for her age, she often carried an axe around with her.
Locals had often complained about her killing local cats, but had never suspected that she was also a serial killer.
One local, identified only by her first name Tatyana, said at the time: "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”
Zhukova had admitted to killing the janitor of her building, and was put on trial for the other murders in October. She shocked the court by laughing as the charges were read out, and the hearing continued into last year when the court ordered a retrial in June.
The case which was being heard at the Khabarovsk Regional Court was then delayed because of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
But while she was waiting for her trial to resume, Zhukova caught coronavirus.
She died in hospital No. 10 in Khabarovsk on December 29.
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