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27 Aug, 2009 00:31

Man jailed to satisfy his curiosity

Man jailed to satisfy his curiosity

An innocent Russian who has been accused of murder has, out of curiosity, spent four months in jail. The man says he wanted to test investigators and the legal system, Komsomolskaya pravda daily reports.

Vladimir Belous, 56, an independent Moscow artist, has never had any criminal record. But he had a grudge against police who once detained him with his own canvas, thinking he had stolen it.

So when an occasion turned up, he did not hesitate to “take revenge” and to make fools of policemen. If not for an investigator’s scrupulousness, the vengeance may well have cost the artist his freedom for more than ten years.

Once, wandering around Moscow, Belous became acquainted with 22-year-old Vladimir Shishkov, who took him to one of the city’s residential districts. Shishkov introduced Belous to some of his acquaintances, including 33-year-old Aleksandr Puchkov.

The whole party decided to drop into a shop to buy beer. By that time, though, Belous had become tired of his “new friends” and preferred to return home.

As for Shishkov, he set his sights on Puchkov’s expensive cell phone. That meant a death sentence for the owner. Under a certain pretext, Shishkov took his victim to a lonely corner – “for a talk” – where he cut his throat with a broken bottle.

Then Shishkov took the bleeding man, still alive, to hospital. He told doctors that his friend was attacked by hooligans. And so eloquent and convincing was he that he did not raise a single suspicion of the staff. Puchkov died later that night.

When giving evidence at the prosecutor’s office, Shishkov claimed that Belous was the murderer, adding that he saw him kill Puchkov.

Belous confirmed that he killed the man but refused to provide further evidence. Meanwhile, he was taken into custody.

By the time Belous had spent four months behind bars, a new investigator had taken up the case who found a lot of discrepancies in Belous’s story.

It took investigator Anton Yastrebov a while to convince Belous to tell the truth since the artist was afraid that his evidence would be used against him. He only believed in the good intentions of the investigators when they came to his cell with a paper authorizing his release.

The events then came thick and fast. Shishkov was arrested, charged with manslaughter and sentenced to thirteen years in jail.