17 years ago to this day (August 30, 2005) one of the most evil serial killers of all time was finally apprehended.
Serhiy Tkach was a Russian police officer convicted of killing 37 women and girls in the Soviet Union and Ukraine during a 25-year reign of terror.
Upon his arrest he claimed he had killed over 100 victims, who were subjected to sick sexual abuse before and after they had died.
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In 2018 it came to light through Netflix documentary Inside The World's Toughest Prisons that Tkach had fathered a baby with a pen pal 40 years his junior after she saw the jailed monster in a TV interview and became besotted with him.
He married Elena Bulkina in 2015 when she was just 23 and he 63 after she started sending him perfumed letters.
Tkach was sacked from the Soviet Police in 1979 for falsifying evidence, moving to Ukraine in 1982 where he began working again as a police investigator in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
In 1984 women and girls, some as young as eight, began to disappear close to where he lived.
He raped his victims and, according to The Telegraph, then suffocated them to before sexually defiling their corpses.
Tkach was able to get away with the gruesome crimes for so long as he used his knowledge of criminal investigations to mislead police, for example killing near railway lines recently treated with tar to throw police dogs off his scent.
Several men were wrongly convicted for some of his murders over the years, including one who committed suicide.
Tkach was finally snared in 2005 after brazenly attending the funeral of one of his victims, where children in attendance reportedly claimed to have seen him with the victim shortly before her death.
When first convicted he is said to have begged for the death penalty. He was instead sentenced to life imprisonment in Ukraine and died in November 2018.
Following their marriage in 2015, Elena and Tkach were allowed conjugal visits.
In 2018 she said she never feared for her safety, nor was she concerned about what her husband had done.
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She said: “I don’t feel guilty because I did not commit the crimes. Of course I’d not wish this on anyone and if it happened to my family I’d punish that person. But I didn’t do anything.
“I felt happiness when I realised I was pregnant. I wanted this baby and he wanted this baby but she was born in Russia and my parents and the officials won’t let me bring her to this country.”
Elena gave birth to their daughter Elizaveta in late 2016.
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