Beast: Mikhail Popkov killed 22 women but may have murdered many more
A serial killer nicknamed ‘The Werewolf’ who murdered 22 women in a chilling campaign of terror could be responsible for DOZENS more brutal deaths, it has been revealed.
Mikhail Popkov sliced the head of one of his victims and carved the heart out of another during a twisted series of murders in Russia.
The 50-year-old beast was jailed for life earlier this year for the killings, but up to 39 additional murder cases are being investigated - including 11 on which he already faces charges, according to reports in Siberia.
The married father of one, a former policeman, is said to be co-operating with police amid new disclosures that his reign of terror was sparked by his suspicions that his wife had cheated on him in his own home.
"If he is eventually convicted of such a number, his murder spree would exceed his idol, Soviet-era Andrei Chikatilo, aka the Butcher of Rostov, who was convicted of 53 murders, and the more recent Moscow maniac Alexander Pichushkin, known as the Chessboard Killer, who killed 49," reported The Siberian Times.
Butcher: Popkov with his wife Elena, who previously told how she still loves the beast
One Russian newspaper claimed: "Almost every day a new crime is added to his 'track record’."
Another cited police sources indicating that his total death toll could be 61.
Cruel Popkov gave lifts in his police cars to many of his victims, who he then murdered with axes, knives or screwdrivers.
He brutally raped most of the women he killed, while claiming he wanted to "cleanse" the streets of his city of Angarsk of prostitutes, his earlier court hearing was told.
Until now, it was thought he stopped killing around the year 2000, a dozen years before his arrest, after he claimed to have lost his sexual potency.
Now police fear he did not halt his murderous spree.
Victims: Popkov was sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering 22 women
He told police he suspected his wife of infidelity, which she denied, claiming instead a neighbour had used their home for a sexual liaison.
He found two used condoms in the rubbish at home, and this led to his drive to take revenge on women, it is claimed.
"I just had some reasons to suspect her," he said of his fear that his wife had slept with another man.
"I'm not looking for excuses, but this was the impetus for my future.”
"If I had seen the treason with my own eyes, I would maybe have done everything differently.
"Everyone goes through such things differently: some take it easy and forget, others take it painfully.
"What happened with me? The worst-case scenario.”
Wife Elena, 48, admitted he found the condoms, and said: "Maybe the police suppose it was kind of impetus to him, I do not know.”
Life: Mikhail Popkov will never leave jail
Initially, when he was sentenced, she stood by him, as did their teacher daughter Ekaterina, now 27.
Elena said at the time: "We have been married for 28 years.
"If I suspected something wrong, of course, I would divorce with him.
"I support him, I believe him.
"If he were to be released right now, I would not say a word and we would continue to live together.”
But now both women have moved to another city to begin new lives.
They no longer visit him.Popkov was arrested in 2012 after detectives took DNA samples from 3,500 current and former police officers.
While not commenting on the claims that he killed more than the 22 victims for which he was convicted, he expressed "repentance" over the misery he caused.
He admitted to having a negative view of women who went out at night to drink without their husbands or boyfriends.
Now he says: "I had no right to evaluate people, their behaviour...this is my repentance."