A Russian professor who allegedly dismembered a 24-year-old student told police he had planned to kill himself in front of tourists while dressed as Napoleon Bonaparte.
Oleg Sokolov, 63, an established St. Petersburg academic — and supposedly one of the country’s most prolific re-enactors of Napoleonic wars — confessed to chopping up his former student, Anastasia Yeshchenko, according to France 24.
The lecturer was arrested by authorities on Saturday after he drunkenly stumbled into the chilly waters of the Moika River, attempting to dispose of Yeshchenko’s severed arms, France 24 also reported.
"He has admitted his guilt," Sokolov's lawyer Alexander Pochuev told international news agency Agence France-Presse, the BBC reported.
Sokolov, a historian who has authored books on Napoleon, allegedly fatally shot his student-turned-lover following a dispute — and then sawed off her limbs and head, France 24 also reported. After hosting a dinner party, the university professor supposedly got drunk and fell into the river while trying to dump the woman’s body parts.
"He is an elderly person," the man’s lawyer lawyer added, who noted his client had been hospitalized for hypothermia.
At Sokolov’s home, law enforcement supposedly uncovered Yeshchenko’s decapitated corpse and a bloody saw, CNN reported.
Prior to being arrested, the academic had planned to commit suicide, dressed as Napoleon, in front of tourists at a popular St. Petersburg citadel, authorities said. The man taught at Saint Petersburg State University — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alma mater — France 24 also reported.
Sokolov’s alleged relationship with Yeshchenko was known on campus.
“Everyone was fine with that; it was her own business,” Sokolov’s former student Fyodor Danilov also told the AFP.
While the 63-year-old eccentric lecturer was praised by some, others called him a “freak,” describing him as an alcoholic with emotional issues, who begged Yeshchenko to call him “sire” when they dressed up in period costumes, according to France 24.
“What happened is simply monstrous,” a separate faculty member and lecturer also told AFP.
Sokolov appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing on Monday, according to the BBC. During the hearing, he reportedly sobbed loudly and told the court, "I repent!"
He will be held in custody at the Kresty detention center in St. Petersburg, pending his trial in two months, according to the BBC.
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