Man Convicted of Murder for Beating Pedophile to Death While Rescuing Child
Car mechanic saved young boy from abuser's 'clutches' by 'beating him with a stick'
A man has been convicted of murder and now faces up to 15 years in jail for beating a pedophile to death while rescuing a child "from his clutches" during a horrific sexual attack.
34-year-old car mechanic Vladimir Sankin was found guilty of killing notorious child abuser Vladimir Zaitsev in Russia, in a jury verdict that has shocked his many supporters.
Mr. Sankin, described by many as a regular, hard-working, married man, says he was left with no options when he realized a 14-year-old boy was being raped by Zaitsev.
"I had a choice - to pass by or to save the kids," he said as he recalled the moments he decided to save the child.
"Surely every man would do the same in my place," he added.
After being alerted to the attack by one escaped child, Sankin says he had to use a "wooden stick" to beat Zaitsev and pry him away from the second child, who he was still sexually assaulting.
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, according to The Daily Mail.
Two boys, aged ten and 14, had been lured to previously-convicted pedophile 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.
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 the 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 pedophile, allegations disputed by the mechanic.
In the fight with Sankin, Zaitsev fell and banged his head, then lay on the cold ground.
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.
"He ran to the entrance and met a pedophile, snatching from his clutches the second child.
"A fight broke out, as a result of which the pedophile 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 pedophile and without protecting children from this rapist.
"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.
"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."