A Russian court has sentenced a Napoleonic historian to 12-and-a-half years’ jail after convicting him of the murder of a young student, whom he dismembered.
- Oleg Sokolov was found in a river with a bag containing body parts of a 24-year-old woman
- He pleaded guilty to murder but said it was not premeditated
- The former history professor was renowned for re-enacting the battle scenes of Napoleon Bonaparte
Oleg Sokolov, 64, a former history professor at St Petersburg State University, is known for re-enacting the battle scenes of former French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte.
He was found in a river in November 2019 with a bag containing the severed arms of Anastasia Yeshchenko, a 24-year-old postgraduate student.
Sokolov testified in court that he and Yeschchenko had been in a romantic relationship.
He pleaded guilty to her murder, but told the court it had not been premeditated.
The prosecution had asked the court in St Petersburg to jail him for 15 years.
As she handed down the verdict, the judge said Sokolov had shot Yeshchenko four times with a rifle before dismembering her with a knife and saw.
The court was told he took the body parts out in bags before dumping them in St Petersburg’s River Moyka.
He got rid of her phone in the river near his home, but was caught while disposing of the body parts.
When the severed arms failed to sink, he went into the frigid waters and was then physically unable to get back out because of the cold, the judge said.
The court also found him guilty of weapons’ possession which was factored into his 12.5 year sentence.
A lawyer for the victim’s family said relatives would not appeal the length of the jail term, and that “no sentence would bring back their beloved daughter.”
A fluent French speaker, Sokolov was awarded the Legion of Honour order of merit by France for being a leading member of the military re-enactment movement since the early 1990s.
Sokolov’s flamboyant style and fiery delivery made him popular among students, and he spoke about his passion for the Napoleonic era in TV interviews.
Napoleon was his idol and fellow history buffs would address him as “Sire”, the emperor’s title.