Members of a group of Russian fishermen who spent several months lost in Siberia in 2012 have admitted to resorting to cannibalism.
Survivors Alexei Gorulenko, 39, and Alexander Abdullaev, 38, were brought to court, where they both admitted to eating their friend, 44-year-old Andrei Kurochkin. The fishermen had been missing for almost four months after their Jeep was destroyed in a flash flood, leaving the fishing party stranded.
As if the act of cannibalism itself wasn’t shocking enough, the men allegedly said that they weren’t even that hungry when they decided to cut up their friend and eat him.
In a rambling statement to court, Abdullaev stated that they had eaten their friend “not because I was hungry. I had another reason.” He did not elaborate about the other reason.
The Telegraph reports that Kurochkin’s remains were discovered shortly after rescuers picked up the emaciated survivors on Nov. 29, 2012.
“He died by himself. He froze to death. Only after that did we start eating him,” stated Abdullaev.
Reports suggested that Kurochkin had indeed frozen to death in the minus 40 degree temperatures.
Kurochkin’s family, on the other hand, argued that he had been butchered to death, and that the survivors should be on trial for murder.
Prosecutors alleged that the two men had beaten, dismembered, cooked, and eaten Kurochkin’s corpse.
The court, however, threw out the murder charges and instead convicted Gorulenko of causing bodily harm; he was given a suspended three-and-a-half-year jail sentence.
Abdullaev was treated as a witness and was not charged, a decision that has outraged Kurochkin’s wife, Olga Kurochkin.
“Can you imagine what I have left? One foot with toes, one finger, and the back of his skull with some hair. That is it,” 38-year-old Olga Korochkin said. “That is all I have left from the man I loved.”
“Having just these remains, how can I say goodbye to him? I have got almost nothing to cry over,” she said.
Kurochkin’s widow reportedly said that she never imagined that such horror could come to her and her family. She added that was wants “these cannibals to be punished.”
“If they could kill animals, why would they need to try eating a human body? And why did they carry his head with them?” she questioned.
The widow stated that she was “shocked” by the judge’s decision to let the cannibal walk free. “Nobody expected it to end like this, that a cannibal walks free with a suspended sentence,” she said.
Olga Kurochkin plans to appeal the verdict.
A fourth man, Vladimir Komarov, had also been on the trip. Komarov is missing and is presumed dead.