Elderly Russian woman suspected of murdering, dismembering duo
Russian authorities on Wednesday detained an elderly woman on suspicion of poisoning a friend and chopping up the body, while police said she was being investigated over a second gruesome murder.
A court in the city of Saint Petersburg ordered Tamara Samsonova, a 68-year-old former hotel worker, behind bars until September on suspicion of poisoning the 79-year-old victim, for whom she acted as a carer, after they quarrelled.
She is also suspected of murdering a 32-year-old male lodger in her apartment in 2003 after a row and dismembering his body, police said in a statement.
The suspect wrote a diary apparently detailing some 10 killings over more than a decade, state television reported, although it was unclear whether these claims had any basis.
Russian media showed the slight, curly-haired woman in court as an investigator called her a "huge danger to those around her."
She smiled at reporters and blew an air kiss.
Security camera footage aired on state television showed Samsonova, wrapped in a hooded raincoat, dragging a black plastic sack out of an apartment, apparently containing the body parts of her victim, which police found on Saturday.
She cut up the body with a saw and knife and dumped it in her Saint Petersburg suburb, investigators said.
Police found a sack containing the body without a head or limbs next to a pond.
State television reported that Samsonova wrote diary entries detailing a series of some 10 murders committed more than 10 years ago.
It remained unclear whether these entries were fact or fantasy -- they were written in three languages: Russia, English and German.
Investigators said Wednesday they had "no objective evidence" of more murders.
Neighbours told the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda that Samsonova had recently spent several months in a psychiatric hospital.
Russian media christened her "Babushka Yaga" after a terrifying old woman from fairytales and called her crimes "Nightmare on Dimitrova Street".
"If the memoirs are correct, the babushka will turn out to be a serial killer on a scale rare for Russia, and her diary a real version of Stephen King," wrote Fontanka.ru, referring to the US horror novelist.
Samsonova told police she used to work in the Soviet era at a hotel frequented by foreign visitors, now known as the Grand Hotel Europe, Life News website reported, perhaps explaining her familiarity with foreign languages.
© 2015 AFP