A brutal serial killer who murdered at least 37 people was finally caught out after he attended the funeral of one of his victims.
Serhiy Tkach was nicknamed the "Polohy maniac" after he was arrested in August 2005 for the rape and murder of at least 37 women and girls aged 8 to 18.
Tkach had worked as an investigator in Kemerovo Oblast, Siberia, before he was caught committing his horrific crimes.
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He was forced to resign after getting caught falsifying evidence and moved to Ukraine in 1982, where he used his skills to cover up his offenses.
Shortly after he arrived in Ukraine, women and girls began vanishing near the area where Tkach worked. They were raped and murdered, then sexually assaulted after death.
The evil killer was able to dodge arrest for years but was finally caught when he brazenly attended a victim's funeral 17 years ago and children attending the memorial service reportedly claimed to have seen him with the victim shortly before her death.
Tkach was arrested and confessed to his crimes, claiming that despite only having 37 deaths linked to him, he had actually murdered 100 people, and asked for the death penalty.
However, while serving his life sentence he met Elena Bulkina, who he married in 2015 after she sent him a series of perfumed letters. At the time she was 23 and he was 63.
In 2016, the unlikely couple welcomed daughter Elizaveta, although the child didn't get to meet her father.
Appearing on Netflix show Inside the World's Toughest Prisons, Elena explained she didn't have any guilt over her murderous husband's past.
She said: "Of course I'd not wish this on anyone and if it happened to my family I'd punish that person. But I didn't do anything.
"I felt happiness when I realised I was pregnant. I wanted this baby and he wanted this baby but she was born in Russia and my parents and the officials won’t let me bring her to this country."
Elena explained that the pair had met after she reached out to Tkach when he appeared in an interview.
She said his monstrous crimes did "not matter that much to me."
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Before Tkach's death from heart failure in 2018, the pair were allowed one three-day conjugal visit every two months, during which the murderer was even allowed to handle sharp knives – although prison guards would check on the couple every hour to make sure he hadn't killed his young wife.
Tkach not only murdered vast numbers of young women, but also ruined the lives of several other men who were wrongly convicted of his crimes before he was ultimately caught.
One innocent man, Maksym Dmytrenko, spent seven years in prison atoning for Tkach's crimes – the majority of which he served even after the true criminal had been caught and confessed.
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