Professor confesses to killing two women, bloody pro-Pussy Riot message meant to confuse cops

Igor Danilevsky, a suspect in the murder of two women, in Vakhitovsky Court, Kazan. Photo taken through glass (RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid)
A man detained by Russian police in Kazan has confessed to a double murder, and to scrawling ‘Free Pussy Riot!’ in blood on the wall of victims’ apartment.

“Igor Danilevskiy was detained by detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry early on August 31,” a police statement said. “He has been identified as a 38-year-old Kazan university teacher with a Ph.D.”

I have made a full confession: I would like to plea not for arrest, but to be put under house arrest,” Danilevskiy told a court Friday. The judge remanded him into custody till the end of October.

The suspect insists that he was in an altered state when he killed the two women, and was unable to control himself.

Danilevskiy was arrested in the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. The bodies of two women, a mother and daughter, were discovered in the city dead from stab wounds a day earlier. ‘Free Pussy Riot’ was written on the wall of the apartment, presumably in blood, the Russian Investigative Committee said.

The suspect told police that he was a former classmate of one of the victims, Liliya Zaripova, 38, and was on friendly terms with her. The man had also persuaded the woman to pay off some of his debt by taking out bank loans worth several hundred thousand rubles.

Danilevskiy may have been involved romantically with the woman, promising to take her on vacation to Egypt – a popular destination for Russian tourists – investigators said. He then cancelled the vacation, blaming his difficult financial situation, and suggested they go to Ukrainian Black Sea resort instead.

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Igor Danilevsky, a suspect in the murder of two women, in Vakhitovsky Court, Kazan (RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid)
Igor Danilevsky, a suspect in the murder of two women, in Vakhitovsky Court, Kazan (RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid)

On August 22, he went to Zaripova’s apartment to tell her that the vacation would have to be delayed until January. She confronted him and accused him of constantly lying to her. During the argument, Danilevskiy grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Zaripova several times.

The noise from the fight attracted the attention of Liliya’s 76-year-old mother, Farida Zaripova. When she entered the kitchen, Danilevskiy stabbed and killed her as well. He claimed he did not want to leave any witnesses.

After killing the two women, he searched the apartment for the promissory note he had given Zaripova. Aside from the note, he also found and took with him an estimated 100,000 rubles ($3,200) and two cellphones.

“Then, to lead the investigation away from himself he tries to pass the killing for a ritual murder: He used the victims’ blood to write ‘Free Pussy Riot’ on the wall, and placed the bodies to resemble the figure 69,” investigators said. “Then, he attempted to destroy all evidence of him ever being in the apartment.”

Earlier in August, three members of the Pussy Riot protest collective were each sentenced to two years in jail for performing a ‘punk prayer’ against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral in February. The verdict sparked a wave of international protest, with supporters voicing their disapproval of the sentencing and demanding that Russian authorities free the band.

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(RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid)
(RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid)

Danilevskiy’s mother insists his son is a “religious person” who “cannot have committed such a crime.” The woman claims her son has been framed. Still it was only Friday that she learnt that her son had been sacked from the university.

The woman admits that her son had taken out a line of credit from an area bank but says he has had no problem paying it off.

Danilevskiy's former colleague at the university says the professor may have been forced to confess, falsely, to the crime.

"I doubt he could have done it. He is a quiet, decent person. I think this is just not serious," the unnamed university employee told web daily Dni.ru.

If convicted, Danilevskiy could face life in jail on charges of “Murder of two people,” the Investigative Committee said.