Historian shot student lover and dismembered her, court hears

 

Napoleon-obsessed historian shot his student lover four times in the head and kept her body in his flat for days before dismembering her, court hears

  • Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, shot Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, during an argument
  • He ‘squeezed the victim’s neck with his hands’ before firing three more shots
  • Sokolov dismembered body and dumped parts in Moika River in St Petersburg

A court has heard a gruesome account of how a prominent Russian military historian killed his student lover who he later dismembered, throwing her body parts in a river.

Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, an acclaimed international expert on Napoleon, shot Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, just above the right eye during a furious Champagne-fuelled domestic row.

State prosecutor Asya Lokotkova told the St Petersburg murder trial: ‘He then squeezed the victim’s neck with his hands causing a fracture. 

‘In order to inflict death to the victim, who still showed signs of life, he fired three more shots into the head.’

Professor Oleg Sokolov, 64, (right) an acclaimed international expert on Napoleon, shot Anastasia Yeschenko, 24, (left) during a furious Champagne-fuelled domestic row

During the 2.30am domestic dispute which came after the couple shared glasses of Champagne, Sokolov had been gripped by ‘sudden criminal intent’, judge Yulia Maximenko heard.

He shot his lover with a sawn-off shotgun, made from a Soviet rifle TOZ-17 and stylised as a 19th century cavalry gun.

After the alleged murder, he ‘drank brandy with his friends’ while the student’s corpse was locked in a room in his flat.


Sokolov (left) shot his lover Yeschenko (right) with a sawn-off shotgun, made from a Soviet rifle TOZ-17 and stylised as a 19th century cavalry gun

Ms Yeschenko and Sokolov attend a stately ball together dressed in Napoleonic clothing

Later he went out to buy a saw and an axe which he used to dismember her body, it is alleged.

He shot his lover with a sawn-off shotgun, made from a Soviet rifle TOZ-17 and stylised as a 19th century cavalry gun (pictured)

Then he dumped her body parts in the Moika River in St Petersburg.

Sokolov faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of murder, with his distinguished academic career already in ruins.

The judge gave permission for PhD student Yeschenko’s distraught parents – who had opposed her relationship with the academic four decades her senior – not to attend the distressing trial.

They told the court: ‘The crime and its cruelty shocked our entire family.

‘We categorically do not want to interact with either the accused or his lawyer.’ 

Sokolov – shown in a video in the glass court cage – fired his lawyer Alexander Pochuev shortly before the trial began.

Instead he will be represented by a court-appointed attorney.

Pochuev said earlier that Sokolov pleaded guilty and ‘repents’.

Sokolov (pictured) faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of murder, with his distinguished academic career already in ruins


Yeschenko’s distraught parents had opposed her relationship with the academic four decades her senior. Pictured: Ms Yeschenko (left and right) and Sokolov (right)

Oleg Sokolov with his lawyer Alexander Pochuev. Pochuev said earlier that Sokolov pleaded guilty and ‘repents’

The academic is on record as saying: ‘I understand that I committed an horrific thing and deserve the strictest penalty possible.’

He and Yeschenko were fond of dressing up in Napoleonic era clothes for historical reenactments.

‘My cherished memory of Anastasia is the most important thing for me now.

‘We were supposed to get married and were planning the wedding.

‘In over five years (dating) I had not raised my hand to her.

‘Even scandals between us were rare.’

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