Published — Tuesday 18 December 2012
Last update 18 December 2012 12:47 am
KIEV: Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are investigating the grisly murder of a judge and three family members, who were beheaded in the city of Kharkiv.
The gruesome crime scene was uncovered a day earlier by a relative, who found the bodies of Judge Vladimir Trofimov, his wife Irina, their son Sergei, and the son's girlfriend, Marina Zoueva.
All the bodies had been decapitated and the heads were missing, according to prosecutors and the police.
The beheaded bodies of a Ukrainian judge and three members of his family have been found in their apartment in the eastern city of Kharkiv, police said Sunday as they searched for those responsible for the killings.
A prosecutor's spokesman said yesterday that investigators believe Trofimov's killing could be connected to his job, because the murder took place on Dec. 15, which is Judge's Day in Ukraine.
Investigators also think the killing could have been the result of a robbery, because some belongings are missing from the apartment, or a contract murder.
No further details were available yesterday. Vladimir Trofimov was also a renowned antiques collector. The probe is being closely watched by President Viktor Yanukovich.
Trofimov, had been a magistrate for more than 30 years. He was also an internationally known collector of rare coins, World War II medals and china statuettes. Prosecutor Viktor Pshonka said the quadruple slaying had been carefully planned.
Several antiques were missing and investigators were to question collectors who knew Trofimov.
Pshonka said some evidence showed at least two people were involved in the killings.
Dozens of investigators and experts were working on the case, Zakharchenko said, and additional information was expected from forensics experts.
Domestic secret service SBU chief Igor Kalinin said that police and SBU experts were part of the investigation.