Mikhail Viktorovich Popkov
7 March 1964
|Other names||The Werewolf|
The Angarsk maniac
|Criminal penalty||Life imprisonment|
Span of crimes
Mikhail Viktorovich Popkov (Russian: Михаи́л Ви́кторович Попко́в; born 7 March 1964) is a Russian serial killer and rapist who sexually assaulted and murdered dozens of women between 1992 and 2010 in Angarsk, Irkutsk, and Vladivostok in Siberia. Known as "The Werewolf" and the "Angarsk maniac"—termed as one of Russia's most prolific serial killers—for the brutal nature of his crimes, Popkov was convicted of 22 murders in 2015, and confessed to 59 additional homicides three years later. On December 10, 2018 he was convicted for 56 of the 59 additional homicides. For three killings, the police could not find proof. Popkov received a second life sentence.
Mikhail Popkov was born in Angarsk on 7 March 1964. Little is known about his upbringing and personal life beyond that he is married to Elena Popkova and has a daughter named Ekaterina. He worked as a police officer in the Irkutsk region, and by the time of his capture had also spent time as a security guard at the Angarsk Oil and Chemical Company, as well as at a private firm.
Popkov's crimes were motivated by suspicions that his wife had committed adultery. His victims were all women between the ages of 16 and 40 apart from one male, a policeman. The female victims were prostitutes or inebriated young women—people who Popkov considered immoral. At various points between 1992 and 2010 in Angarsk, Irkutsk, and Vladivostok—a distance of some 3,900 km (2,423 mi)—Popkov, dressed in his police uniform, lured victims with the promise of a free ride and sexually assaulted them. He killed women with instruments including knives, axes, baseball bats, screwdrivers and mutilated the bodies so grotesquely that Russian media ascribed the crimes to "The Werewolf" and the "Angarsk maniac".
Russian police were involved in the search for one perpetrator as slain women were discovered in the mid-1990s, killed by similar methods. Despite extensive inquiries and testimonies from surviving victims, Popkov eluded police for two decades. However, investigators discovered a pattern: tracks from a Lada 4×4, an off-road vehicle used by law enforcement, were found at numerous crime scenes. DNA testings of 3,500 current and former policemen in Irkutsk in 2012 facilitated Popkov's capture that same year. In January 2015, he was sentenced to life in prison for 22 murders and two attempted murders.
Two years later, Popkov confessed to 59 additional killings, a total victim count which surpasses those of Russian serial killers Andrei Chikatilo and Alexander Pichushkin. On December 10, 2018, after a trial in the regional court of Irkutsk in Siberia, he was convicted of 56 further murders; the three other alleged killings could not be confirmed. He was given a second life sentence.
- Russian serial killer convicted of 56 more murders, The Guardian
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- Rahim, Zamira (December 10, 2018). "Mikhail Popkov: Russia's most prolific 'werewolf' serial killer found guilty of raping and murdering 56 women". The Independent. Retrieved December 10, 2018.