While standing trial, a serial murderer granny who baked her victims into snacks died of Covid-19.
After being convicted of three murders, Sofya Zhukova was facing trial and the Russian police suspected her of at least four more murders.
One of the suspected 81-year-old victims was eight-year-old Anastasia Alexeenko, who, after being ordered to be silent, threw ice cream at the OAP.
The severed head of the schoolgirl was discovered in 2005, and at the same time, stray dogs were seen gathering around the apartment of Zhukova to eat “fresh meat” she was throwing out.
But it wasn’t until the death of Zhukov’s 83-year-old lodger, Nina Babenko, in 2013 that there were suggestions that the elderly woman could be a murderer.
She confessed to killing her lodger under investigation, and when the police investigated further, they were surprised when she then reportedly also admitted to killing an eight-year-old girl who vanished on 14 December 2005.
“In the Khabarovsk Territory, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Directorate said: “Criminologists discovered knives and saws on which they found traces of the victim’s blood.
“As the investigation continued, she was arrested for murder and placed in pre-trial detention.”
Police discovered human body parts in her refrigerator when Zhukov was captured, leading to her being compared to the fictitious “demon barber” Sweeney Todd, who was known to bake his victims into pies.
Reports say Zhukova had worked previously as a laborer and in a slaughterhouse. Unusually powerful for her age, she always brought an axe with her around.
Locals often protested about her killing of neighborhood cats, but never believed that she was a serial killer as well.
“A local, identified only by her first name, Tatyana, said at the time: “We always found it odd that she would always find the time to cook stuff for the local kids, despite being surly and unfriendly.
“These have all been meat dishes. She gave them to adults often, and she bought me and my husband plates of jellied meat.”
Zhukova had confessed to murdering her building’s janitor, and was put on trial in October for the other murders. As the charges were read out, she surprised the court by laughing, and the hearing proceeded into last year until, in June, the court ordered a retrial.
Owing to the coronavirus lockout limitations, the case that was heard at the Regional Court of Khabarovsk was then postponed.
But while she was waiting for her trial to resume, Zhukova caught coronavirus.
She died on December 29 in a hospital No. 10 in Khabarovsk.