Russian cop-turned-serial killer Mikhail Popkov admits murdering 81 women

Mikhail Popkov used his status as a police officer to lure his victims.
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Mikhail Popkov used his status as a police officer to lure his victims.

In his police car and uniform, Mikhail Popkov would drive Russian streets late at night, seeking out drunken women and offering them rides home - but his intentions were anything but noble.

Now known as "the Werewolf", Popkov has admitted killing 81 women - a toll that would make him the third worst serial killer in history.

Already behind bars for killing 22 women, the married father of one told the Russian Investigative Committee he had 59 other victims, the Siberian Times reported.

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Popkov claimed to have raped, tortured and murdered the women over an 18-year period, beginning in 1992.

The women, aged between 17 and 38, were killed with axes, knives or screwdrivers, he said.

Police have now charged Popkov with 47 more murders, and were still investigating the remaining 12.

His claimed toll would make Popkov Russia's worst serial killer, and the third worst in the world, behind South America's Luis Garavito and Pedro López, both of whom were believed to have killed more than 300 people.

Popkov, who was a police officer in the city of Angarsk, would cruise streets in his work car, looking for women heading home from bars, and offering them rides.

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He then drove them to deserted spots, raped and killed them, before dumping their bodies in woods.

His crimes went unsolved for years - during which time Russian media dubbed the killer "the Werewolf" - until police DNA tested their own officers, and found evidence from the murder scenes matched Popkov.

Popkov was arrested in June 2012, and admitted a number of the killings, telling police he wants to "rid the streets of prostitutes", the Siberian Times reported.

 - Stuff

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