A senior Russian detective has claimed that serial killer Mikhail Popkov – nicknamed ‘The Werewolf’ – could have killed as many as 200 people.
The 55-year-old former policeman was convicted of killing 78 women over the course of two trials, and received the second of two life sentences in December 2018. The murders are thought to have been committed between 1992 and 2010.
He raped most of his victims, who were between the ages of 15 and 50, before murdering them with axes, hammers, knives, spades and screwdrivers.
He recently lost an appeal to the Russian supreme court, at which time it was estimated that he had killed 20 to 30 women in addition to the 78 murders he was convicted for.
However, one of the leading state investigators on his case, Lieutenant Colonel Evgeny Karchevsky has claimed that the actual death toll could be 122 victims more than the official count.
Mikhail Popkov. Credit: East2West News
Lt Col Karchevsky 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.”
In a TV interview, Popkov grinned as he taunted the detective by pretending that he was going to reveal the total number of women – all of his victims were female – that he killed.
Popkov started: “When I stand before the Lord, then my score, the total number, will be…”
He then said that he’d reveal the actual death toll later.
Karchevsky also said that he highly doubts claims that Popkov confessed to murders he did not commit in order to swell his macabre total.
Popkov was convicted of killing 78 women. Credit: East2West News
The policeman continued: “I am 110 percent sure that all the crimes that we were able to prove were committed by Mikhail.”
The murderer himself said that by the time he was caught he had stopped killing. He told Aist TV in his native Siberia: “I wanted to be a normal person,
“I was aiming for this. I had stopped myself [killing] and I aimed for this.”
Popkov’s method of killing relied on picking women up in his police car before attacking them. One of only two survivors spoke about how she awoke in a morgue having been raped, her head smashed against a tree and left for dead.
Popkov taunted police by refusing to reveal the total of women he killed. Credit: East2West News
After one of his trials, the state prosecutor said: “He clearly loved killing. Some victims had 145, or even 170 knife wounds. He said that he felt satisfied when he felt their pain as they were stabbed.”
Popkov confessed: “I had a double-life. In one life I was an ordinary person, I was in the service in the police, having positive feedback on my work.
“I had a family. My wife and daughter considered me a good husband and father, which corresponded to reality.
“In my other life I committed murders, which I carefully concealed from everyone, realising that this was a criminal offence.
“My wife and daughter never knew about the crimes I committed and did not even suspect this.”