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A 68-year-0ld Russian woman who openly idolized serial killer Andrei Chikatilo has been charged with the brutal murder of numerous of eleven people over a twenty-year period. Tamara Samsonova, who has been dubbed the "Granny Ripper" by Russian journalists, was first arrested following the discovery of a headless body of an elderly woman near a pond in St. Petersburg. After the body was identified as that of 79-year-old Valentina Ulanova, Samsonova, who had been working as her caregiver, was questioned by police and subsequently arrested.
During her interrogation, Samsonova confessed to drugging Ulanova and then dismembering her corpse. Various internal organs had been removed though police are refusing to say whether Samsonova is believed to have eaten them. In her diary, which contains entries in Russian, English, and German, Samsonova describes her fascination with Chikatilo, whose reign of terror led to the rape, murder, and cannibalization of fifty-two victims, as well as confessing to ten or more murders modeled after Chikatilo. The diary also includes song lyrics, poems, and general observations on life.
According to one neighbour, who had been interviewed by a Moscow journalist, Sams0nova had a local reputation for being odd, likely due to her open fascination with serial murder and her nocturnal lifestyle. A former hotel worker, Samsonova was often fond of sitting topless and exposing herself to neighbours and was also fascinated by literature on black magic. In a chilling note, the neighbour also admitted that Samsonova had borrowed a hacksaw from her years before but had never returned it.
As for actual evidence that any of the numerous murders to which Samsonova confesses to in her diary are true, police are still investigating. According to one passage in her diary, "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." Even though no body parts have been found, closed camera television images show her disposing of garbage bags believed to contain body parts. Her own husband, whom she reported missing in 2005, is feared to be another of her victims.
Now receiving her day in court, Tamara Samsonova seems to be reveling in all the media attention she is receiving. When a judge asked her to make a statement, she asked if she could go outside because the courtroom was too "stuffy." She also said that she was "getting ready for this court action for dozens of years. It was all done deliberately." She also said that she "closed a chapter" with e the final murder and that she deserved punishment for her actions. She is currently undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
While there have been other serial killers in Russia who idolized Andrei Chikatilo, Tamara Samsonova is the only female and her case is likely to be followed closely by Russian media in the months to come. More revelations are expected are her notorious diary continues to be examined by investigators.
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