The horrific exploits of a serial killer finally came to an end because of an argument about washing-up.
Tamara Samsonova, known in the Russian press as “The Granny Ripper” and “Baba Yaga” is believed to have already killed at least a dozen people before she moved in with elderly Valentina Ulanova to act as her carer.
But the pair quarrelled over dirty cups that had been left in the sink, and Samsonova drugged the 79-year-old by putting crushed-up pills of prescription drug, phenazepam into a salad before dismembering the woman while she was still alive.
Mikhail Timoshatov, a senior investigator on the case, told reporters: “Tamara Samsonova admits that at first she made her friend sleep – and then cut her into pieces.”
Samsonova wrapped the body parts in a shower curtain and dumped them near a pond on Dimitrova Street in St Petersburg, close to where she lived. The grisly bundle lay there for several days before a passer-by decided to investigate.
The police were alerted, and a house-to-house search led them to Samsonova’s door. Officers found more body parts in black plastic bin-bags and traces of blood all over the apartment.
Samsonova admitted the murder, saying that she had killed Ulanova after they had rowed about unwashed cups.
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Samsonova, who was 68 at the time of her arrest, also kept a detailed diary which listed several other murders.
One entry read: “I killed my tenant Volodya, cut him to pieces in the bathroom with a knife, put the pieces of his body in plastic bags and threw them away in the different parts of Frunzensky district”.
The diary, which had been stored alongside ebooks on black magic and astrology, detailed almost every aspect of Samsonova’s life. “It was as if she was afraid to miss something important in her life,” comments done detective who combed through the document for clues.
After her arrest, Samsonova said: “I knew you would come… It's such a disgrace for me, everyone in the city will know."
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An investigation connected Samsonova with at least twelve unsolved murders in the area over the preceding five years. All of the victims had been cut into pieces and left in public parks around St. Petersburg.
Among the victims was a man whose dismembered body had been found some years before her arrest – Samsonova appeared to have kept his business card as some sort of grim trophy
Detectives suspected that the former hotel worker may have cooked and eaten parts of her victims, and she reportedly had a particylar fondness for eating human lungs.
Samsonova held a warped admiration for Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo.
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Her neighbour Marina Krivenko told reporters that Samsonova was “very interested” in the so-called "Butcher of Rostov”, who is known to have killed over 50 people during a 12-year murder rampage.
Ms Krivenko said: “She gathered information about him and how he committed his murders. She was also obsessed with black magic literature.”
Samsonova seemed almost pleased to have been caught, telling a judge “I was getting ready to this trial for dozens of years. It was all done deliberately… There is no way to live. With this last murder I closed the chapter.”
A court report said that "On the results of the forensic psychiatric examination, the woman suffers from chronic mental illness in the form of paranoid schizophrenia.”
At her trial, she happily blew a kiss to reporters in the courtroom’s public gallery, smiling and clapping her hands when the sentence was read out and saying “I am guilty and I deserve a punishment”.
At the end of the trial, in December 2015, Samsonova was sent for compulsory psychiatric treatment in a specialised hospital in Kazan, where she remains to this day.
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