A car mechanic who beat a paedophile to death while ‘rescuing a child from his clutches’ has been convicted of murder.
Vladimir Sankin, 34, faces up to 15 years in jail after killing Vladimir Zaitsev in Russia, in a jury verdict which has shocked his many supporters.
The married man, who will be sentenced next week, said: ‘I had a choice – to pass by or to save the kids.
Vladimir Sankin, 34, faces up to 15 years jail after being convicted of murder for killing a paedophile ‘while trying to rescue a boy from his clutches’
Paedophile Vladimir Zaitsev lies bleeding on the ground after having been beaten by Sankin
‘Surely every man would do the same in my place.’
The jury asked for leniency in the sentencing yet after eight hours of deliberations found him guilty of murder despite medical evidence that the cause of death was frostbite, not Sankin’s blows with a wooden stick.
Two boys, aged ten and 14, had been lured to previously convicted paedophile Zaitsev’s flat in Ufa city.
The sex attacker, 54, plied them with alcohol and the teenager was told to strip naked or face being killed and dismembered if he refused, say reports of the case.
Sankin, pictured with his wife Polina, will be sentenced next week for the killing in Ufa city, Russia
Zaitsev, pictured during the beating with severe facial injuries, had been jailed three times previously for attacks on underage children
The younger boy escaped and alerted passerby Sankin who ran to the scene, according to the defendant.
He then freed the teenager, and held Zaitsev as he called police.
But the criminal investigation claimed the boys were both already freed by the time Sankin arrived and accused him of using disproportionate force on the paedophile, facts disputed by the mechanic.
In the fight with Sankin, Zaitsev fell and banged his head, then lay on the cold ground.
The jury asked for leniency in the sentencing yet after eight hours of deliberations found him guilty of murder (pictured outside court)
The younger boy escaped and alerted passerby Sankin who ran to the scene, according to the defendant
He died later in an ambulance.
Sankin’s case has become a cause célèbre with a petition of 70,000 calling for charges to be dropped against the ‘hero’, and a benefactor paying for his legal defence.
His lawyer Shota Gorgadze will now appeal, and is also urging the trial judge to deliver a suspended sentence or order a new trial under a lesser charge.
The jury made clear he ‘deserves leniency’, said the attorney.
‘Vladimir acted like a real man,’ he said.
Sankin’s mother Galina Sankina said her son did the right thing and she would have done the same
Sankin’s case has become a cause célèbre with a petition of 70,000 calling for charges to be dropped against the ‘hero’
‘He ran to the entrance and met a paedophile, snatching from his clutches the second child.
‘A fight broke out, as a result of which the paedophile subsequently died.
‘And it was Sankin in the dock.’
His client is now under house arrest.
The lawyer called his client ‘a simple guy who could not pass by a paedophile and protected children from this rapist.
The car mechanic’s lawyers Shota Gorgadze (right) and Viktoria Korotaeva (left) have said the charges were ‘unfair’
‘The earth depends on such ordinary men.’
State prosecutors earlier charged the mechanic with robbing money from the wounded Zaitsev, but this was later withdrawn.
Sankin’s mother Galina attacked the verdict.
‘I don’t think my son is a murderer – he defended the children,’ she said.
‘The forensic analysis said Zaitsev died as a result of frostbite, not my son killing him.
State prosecutors earlier charged the mechanic with robbing money from the wounded Zaitsev, but this was later withdrawn
‘My son is not to blame.’
Sankin’s wife Polina Naumova said: ‘No-one knows what would have happened next if he turned a blind eye.’
There were calls for Sankin to be awarded for bravery.
Zaitsev had served sentences of five years, one year and 11 years for previous child sex convictions for ‘sodomy’ and ‘violent sexual acts’.