'Chessboard killer' convicted of 48 murders

A Moscow court today found a man guilty of 48 murders that he recorded on a chessboard.

A Moscow court today found a man guilty of 48 murders that he marked off on a chessboard.

The Russian media has branded Alexander Pichushkin, 33, the "chessboard killer" because he planned to kill 64 people - one for every square of a chessboard.

The former supermarket worker claimed to have killed 62 people, which would make him Russia's most prolific serial killer. He said he intended to kill 64 people to fill all the squares on the chessboard.

He never denied the murder charges and boasted that he fell in love with killing.

Most of the victims were found with their heads smashed with a hammer or strangled. Others were found drowned in a sewage pit or thrown from balconies.

Pichushkin said he knew most of the people he had killed, that he wanted to collect their spirits and that he felt no emotion when he killed them.

In a police confession broadcast on television after his arrest last year, he bragged about what he said was his passion for killing. "For me, a life without murder is like a life without food for you," he said.

The killings began in 2001. Most of the victims were men whom he had lured to the Bittsa Park in southern Moscow with the promise of a drink, his trial heard.

Pichushkin was arrested in June 2006 after police found his name and phone number on a piece of paper that a victim had left for her son. He initially denied his involvement, but confessed after police confronted him with CCTV footage that showed him accompanying the victim.

Russia's most prolific serial killer was Andrei Chikatilo, who was executed in 1994 for raping and murdering 52 people.


David Batty and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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