The Most Evil Serial Killer of All Time ROSTOV RIPPER; Serial Killers, Cold-Blooded Murderers and Gun-Toting Gangsters. in a New Series, Former Top West Midlands Detective JOHN PLIMMER Looks at the Most Notorious Criminal Figures of the Last Century -and How They Were Caught
Byline: JOHN PLIMMER
I F evil had a name, it would be Andrei Chikatilo. The Ukrainian-born psychopath is suspected of butchering at least 53 people in 12 years -and eating parts of their bodies.
The Western world has seen its fair share of bloodthirsty killers, but not many could hold a light to the man dubbed The Rostov Ripper.
Chikatilo is perhaps the most terrifying and evil serial killer of all timeand in 1992 he was convicted and sentenced to death for his crimes.
Yet he escaped capture for years in his home city of Rostov, near the Black Sea, because of bungling police -allowing him to kill, and kill again.
During his eventual trial the court was told how he brutally butchered his victims, slashing and cutting up their bodies before eating parts of them.
Psychiatrists might argue such an individual must have been shaped by some horrific childhood experiences. In Chikatilo's case they were not far wrong.
He was born in the bleakest part of the Ukraine in 1936. It was a time when people living in the frozen north were suffering from starvation and where cannibalism was almost second nature.
In fact, the remains of his older brother, having himself died from starvation, were said to have been disposed of by neigh-bours desperate for food to survive. When the Germans invaded during the SecondWorldWar,theyoung Chikatilo is said to have witnessed his mother being gang-raped by soldiers of the Third Reich.
During his youth, he also suffered taunts because he was extremely shortsighted and was regarded as a bit of an 'oddball'.
His sexual drive was also far from normal. He had great difficulty making love to women and had homosexual tendencies which became well-publicised in his small community, adding to his embarrassment and isolation.
At the age of 27, he married a local girl called Feodosia and after some difficulty managed to father a daughter. Below the surface however, his sexual deviances grew.
In 1970 he earned a degree from a correspondence course and embarked on a teaching career but was soon dismissed from a string of jobs because of his sexual perversions.
He lost one teaching post after going swimming with some pupils and fondling a 15 year-old girl. On another occasion, he was caught trying to have sex with a teenage boy.
His sexual urge to beat 14 year-old girls after school with a ruler cost him other jobs in the teaching profession.
Then in December 1978, the misfit went over the top and killed his first child victim.
It was late evening when nine year-old Yelena Zakomova was walking home through the nearby town of Shakty, near the Russo-Ukraine border. Chikatilo attacked her, stripped off her clothes and slashed and stabbed her body with a knife. The youngster died after the 'friendly neighbourhood ' teacher strangled her with his bare hands.
Police inquiries soon revealed Chikatilo had been seen in the vicinity just before the murder. But when asked about his whereabouts, he told cops that he'd been with his wife that night.
She supported his story, so he was eliminated from the investigation.
Almost three years passed before the Ukrainian claimed his second victim, a 17 year-old girl playing truant from school. Chikatilo persuaded her to walk with him in the woods where he sexually assaulted her and then cut her to ribbons. Many victims followed, all killed with the same hallmark mutilation. Many of the murders included acts of cannibalism. A majority of his victims were children or young people. They included an 11year-old boy who was found with 54 stab wounds and a number who were found headless.
By 1983, 14 murders had been committed in and around Rostov yet police were still no closer to catching the killer.
Moscow sent a senior detective, Major Mikhail Fetisov, to take over the investigation and he immediately criticised the local force for being inept and inadequate. …