A date with Russia’s Hannibal Lecter
WARNING: Graphic content
THE shocked family of a Russian nurse from the city of Kurgan has told her terrifying tale to local media - a tale of budding romance, and unspeakable horror.
Russian news service URA.ru says family members of Tamara (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) told one of its reporters the 41-year-old single nurse met 45-year-old Anatoly Yezhkov on social media.
Their relationship developed over time.
Yezhkov won her confidence.
Eventually, he invited her to his place for dinner.
Tamara and her family, including two grown children who live separately, tried to find out more about this handsome, but mysterious, man.
"We tried to look at Anatoly's profile in social networks," the family told reporters, "but Yezhkov had put himself on the blacklist".
Then, in the days before the date, Yezhkov removed all photos from social media and changed the names on several of his profiles.
"He seemed to be preparing for this crime," the relatives said.
Nevertheless, Tamara arrived at the address, and went up to his hostel room.
Everything initially seemed to be going fine, relatives said.
"There was no harassment on his part," they said.
But, about 7.30 in the evening, Yezhkov attacked her.
"What could be the reason for the aggression, Tamara herself does not know," relatives told URA.ru.
He beat her. He tortured her.
He bit her ceaselessly.
"He wanted her to faint from the pain, but she continued to fight and scream," they said.
The ordeal lasted four hours.
"His teeth tore the body of a fragile helpless woman. She's sure he tried to kill her. He strangled her with his hands, but because of the blood - they slid."
Neighbours reportedly heard the shouting and screaming. But the hostel was frequently the scene of such 'exuberance', so they didn't initially attach any importance to it.
It was only after four hours that someone finally decided to call the police.
Anatoly Yezhkov was detained.
Tamara was rushed to hospital.
Tamara was very lucky to be alive.
"The citizen entered the Kurgan hospital number 1 urgently, the examination revealed: bodily wounds all over, closed craniocerebral trauma, brain concussion, fracture of the rib, ears and bitten nose were also bitten off," an anonymous source told URA.ru.
Relatives later released photos of Tamara's injuries to prove the extent of her injuries.
Bites to her lips.
Bites to her arms.
Lacerations to her neck and shoulders.
Her face was swollen beyond recognition.
"We were horrified when we found out what had happened. But even more shock was caused when we received a message that Anatoly was to be released to freedom before the trial."
Worse, Kurgan police had left Tamara's bag - complete with her house keys - in Yezhkov's hostel room.
The Kurgan office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed Yezhkov had been released.
"The investigation knows the whereabouts of the man," a statement reads. "He does not hide. Not all of the diagnoses listed in the story correspond to reality."
The family is in a state of disbelief.
"Tamara survived all this horror, and now lives in fear that he will enter her apartment at night and strangle her. How could he be let go? What kind of law enforcement system is this?"
Authorities have since said that Yezhkov was under observation in hospital, though not where.