Schoolgirl, 9, kidnapped, tortured and killed by teacher who missed own daughter

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A nine-year-old girl was kidnapped, tortured for five hours, then stabbed and battered to death by a female teacher in Russia.

Sofia Zhavoronkova’s head was “smashed” and her face and body “disfigured” after she was lured home by Ulyana Lanskaya, 40, an English language tutor, say Russian police.

Sofia had written flyers in a notebook with 'save the planet announcements', which she handed out to strangers with her friend Alla.

Lanskaya – now remanded in custody – had seen the girls distributing the messages to passers-by and praised them for their green initiative.

According to Alla’s unnamed mother, Lanskaya offered to buy the girls something “tasty” as a treat and took them to a cafe for cake and bought them sweets and ice cream before luring them to her home.

Sofia was reported missing and a huge police search started with 272 volunteers, with the girl’s mother Anna Zhavoronkova, 32, making an emotional appeal on social media.

Police eventually located her friend, Alla, who told them the address where she had last seen Sofia.

Lanskaya was absent but police broke in and found Sofia’s body, with her throat having been slit and her head battered with a blunt object, according to police.

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She was covered in slash wounds and her head was “a broken, bloody mess”, reported Vologda-Poisk media.

After Sofia’s death, police detained Lanskaya on a train and she confessed to carrying out the murder and has been remanded in custody for two months pending the murder investigation.

Later in court she said: “I confessed because I'm very ill. I feel unwell, I don't have so long to live.”

Investigators however say there is no evidence that she is terminally ill.

Lanskaya is reported to have been distraught after the authorities barred her from raising her own son and daughter, and said Sofia looked like her own child.

The teacher had repeatedly claimed her healthy daughter suffered from cancer and needed urgent medical treatment, and had threatened her child with a knife, it was reported.

A local said: “Lanskaya is an intelligent woman, with an education. She used to be a tutor in several foreign languages."

At the funeral, hundreds of mourners carried flowers in the girl's memory.

A local report said: “People are silent, they do not talk at all. Everyone is crying. Even men, leaving the church, step aside, light a cigarette and wipe away their tears.”

  • Russia
  • Crime
  • Police

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