A twisted psychopath who dug up the bodies of dead female children and turned their corpses into dolls could be freed from a secure hospital.
Anatoly Moskvin stole the bodies of 29 dead children from a graveyard and hid at the flat he shared with his parents in Russia.
Moskvin mummified the dead children and dressed them in stockings, female clothing and knee-length boots to make them look like dolls, even applying lipstick and make-up to their faces. He wedged music boxes inside their rib cages.
The highly educated bodysnatcher – a leading expert on cemeteries – marked the birthday of each of his dead victims in his bedroom.
Ten-year-old Olga Chardymova’s body was one of those stolen and her mother Natalia Chardymova, 46, is outraged an official request has been made to release the “evil man” from a secure psychiatric hospital.
A court will rule this week whether to discharge the 52-year-old historian.
By the time Moskvin was detained by police, he had kept Olga’s remains for nine years – and her mother Natalia did not realise that on her regular visits to her daughter’s graveside, the coffin was empty.
Moskvin confessed between 2011 – when he was detained – and 2013 to 44 counts of abusing the graves and corpses of girls aged three to 12. But he was ruled to have schizophrenia and could not stand trial, and instead sent to a secure psychiatric clinic.
Despite this he had a chilling message for the anguished parents of the dead children.
He told them:
You abandoned your girls in the cold – and I brought them home and warmed them up.
Now a court is due to rule on an official request from psychiatrists to release him from a secure hospital – and continue his treatment at the home where he kept the dead girls who he referred to as “my girls”.
Natalia – who now has a son aged nine – said she was appalled that Moskvin could be freed.
This creature brought fear, terror and panic into my (life).
I shudder to think that he will have freedom to go where he wants.
He had warned the court that ‘I will return to my girls’, if he was ever freed. But this now seems forgotten.
Neither my family nor the families of the other victims will be able to sleep peacefully. He needs to be kept under surveillance.
I insist on a life sentence….only under medical supervision, without the right of free movement.
Years have passed but my attitude to Moskvin has not changed at all – horror, fear and panic.
He’ll cause a lot more suffering to someone else….
Natalia said she feels “shock, horror and fear – even my voice trembles now as I speak.”
These are my fears, my worries… I don’t want repetition of what happened in the past. It was very scary.
He deprived me of the right to visit my daughter, to visit her grave: as it turned out, for years I visited an empty coffin.
Little Olga was murdered in 2002. She had begged her mother to be allowed to walk on her own to her granny’s flat in the next apartment block.
“I’m ten already. I can go myself,” she pleaded.
Natalia relented and Olga went out with her favourite green bag and blue umbrella, never to be seen alive again. A drug addict waiting in the lobby of her block had forced her back up to the top floor, and robbed her of her earrings, and because she tried to escape, cracked her over the head with a metal bar. Despite searches for her body, Olga’s remains with the umbrella and bag were not found for five months wedged behind pipes in the block’s attic.
We buried her on 2 October 2002.
I could never imagine that almost exactly ten years later, on the 5 October 2012, I would open her grave with the police, and find her remains had vanished. Her coffin was empty, with a hole at the top from which he had pulled the remains.
You can’t begin to imagine it, that somebody would touch the grave of your child, the most holy place in this world for you.
Soon after the burial Natalia and her husband Igor, now 49, found a note signed with two letters – D.A. – standing for Dobry Angel or Kind Angel, how Moskvin thought of himself.
We shivered with fear each time we went to the grave, not knowing what to expect.
These sick anonymous notes were addressed to my daughter, calling her ‘Little Lady’.
My girl had been murdered, if anyone deserved to rest in peace, she did, but instead her grave had been robbed.
When police found her remains in Moskvin’s flat they told Natalia not to see her.
The sight was too grotesque, they said. But I have seen the pictures of some of the other girls.
I still find it hard to grasp the scale of his sickening ‘work’ but for nine years he was living with my mummified daughter in his bedroom. I had her for ten years, he had her for nine.
Moskvin’s mother Elvira, then 76, told police after he was arrested:
We saw these dolls but we did not suspect there were dead bodies inside. We thought it was his hobby to make such big dolls and did not see anything wrong with it.
The historian – described in court as a genius, and the author of scientific papers – gave various explanations for his macabre behaviour.
He told his interrogators:
I was waiting for science to find ways for these girls to live again.
Another explanation he gave was:
I wanted to be an expert in making mummies.
He also said, “I wanted to communicate with these girls” – and it seems he tried talking to them.
He told how he carefully selected which girl to take, saying:
I lay on the grave and tried to get in touch with her. I listened to what she said. Often they asked me to take them out for a walk.
Police say he was not motivated by twisted sexual desires with these children. “He loathed sex and thought it was disgusting,” said one officer.
Olga would now be 26 and Natalia keeps her picture beside her in the kitchen.
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