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Latest update : 2008-12-24

A former Ukrainian police investigator has been jailed for life for the murder of 29 young women and girls as well as 11 attempted murders. Serhiy Tkach, 56, claims he murdered up to 100 people over several decades.


Reuters - A Ukrainian court has jailed for life a former police investigator who killed at least 29 girls and young women over more than two decades.


The appeals court in the central city of Dnipropetrovsk on Tuesday found Serhiy Tkach, 56, guilty of 29 murders and 11 attempted murders. Some of his victims had been raped.


News reports of the final day of the trial said Tkach, who said during testimony that he had murdered up to 80 or even 100 people, was impassive when the sentence was read out. But he vowed to appeal.


"No one has been able to determine the motives for his actions," judge Serhiy Voloshko said after the verdict, in comments reported by Ukrainian dailies.


"He first said he wanted revenge on women as his wives had mistreated him. The explanation then became simple sexual pleasure. The fact is, we simply do not know what prompted him to commit these crimes."


Tkach had worked for the police in Siberia and used his professional skills to confuse investigators, often making his escape along rail lines treated with tar to throw tracking dogs off the scent.


After moving to Ukraine, he took on various jobs in coal mines and industrial plants and was married four times. He acknowledged in testimony that the murders, dating from 1980, had been "animal-like", but offered no explanation.


News reports said at least six men were serving time for murders subsequently proven to have been committed by Tkach, captured by police in 2005.


One man was reported to have committed suicide in detention while another, denied early release during an eight-year sentence, has since become destitute and homeless.


Ukraine removed the death penalty from its laws in the years following independence from Soviet rule, a requirement for membership of the Council of Europe human rights body.


A Ukrainian court convicted mass murderer Anatoly Onoprienko in 1996 of hacking to death and strangling 52 people while travelling across the country by train over a seven-year period.


Date created : 2008-12-24