A Russian killer who used a meat-grinder to dispose of his lover’s body has been pardoned and released from jail by Vladimir Putin as a reward for fighting in the war against Ukraine.
Dmitry Zelensky, 41 – who has the same surname as the Ukrainian president – was serving an 11-year sentence in a high security penal colony for strangling university graduate Tatiana Melekhina, 27, to death before dismembering her body.
A law enforcement source said the ‘exceptional cruelty’ of the murder had ‘shocked even hardened detectives’.
‘He did not just dismember her body, he separated the meat and bones, and made mincemeat,’ said the source.
‘Then he washed this mincemeat down the toilet into the sewage system. He threw the bones into the river. This was his plan to hide the murder.’
A huge search was launched for the missing Tatiana after her father reported her disappearance.
Zelensky, from Perm, eventually confessed to killing her after an argument. He had hidden from his lover that he was married with a daughter.
When his 44-year-old wife – also called Tatiana – found out, she said: ‘I don’t know what to say now… I didn’t know he could be so cruel.’
The victim’s sister Oksana expressed outrage that the family were not told of Zelensky’s release.
‘At this trial, it was declared that we would be notified of where he was, and his movements,’ she said.’We were never told anything.
‘My father has written to ask for details, but no-one answers us.’
His pardon and freedom was confirmed by Zelensky’s mother, Galina. It is not known where he fought in the war.