Woman filmed brandishing child’s severed head in Moscow

Nanny reported to be from central Asia arrested after incident on suspicion of murder

A Russian police officer stands at the site where a woman suspected of murdering a young child was arrested on Monday.  Russian investigators said they had arrested a nanny and charged her with murdering a young child in her care. Photograph: Reuters

A Russian police officer stands at the site where a woman suspected of murdering a young child was arrested on Monday. Russian investigators said they had arrested a nanny and charged her with murdering a young child in her care. Photograph: Reuters

 

Russian police arrested a woman on suspicion of murder after she was found brandishing the severed head of a child outside a Moscow metro station on Monday.

Russian state news websites broadcasted videos showing a woman clad in black shouting “I am a terrorist” and other, incomprehensible, utterances outside the Oktybrskyoye Pole metro station in northwest Moscow.

When police approached demanding to see her documents the woman pulled the severed head of a child from a plastic bag and yelled “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is Great”).

Russia’s Investigative Committee said the decapitated body of a 3 to 4-year-old girl had been found in a flat near the metro station after firefighters were called to extinguish a blaze on the premises on Monday morning. “According to preliminary information, the child’s nanny, a citizen of one of the central Asian states, waited for the parents to leave with their older child, murdered the youngster for unestablished reasons, and set fire to the flat before leaving the place,” the committee said in a statement.

The murder suspect would undergo an immediate “forensic psychiatric examination” to establish her mental state, it said.

Police sealed off the area round the metro station and evacuated shops while security services searched for bombs. No explosive devices were found in the murder suspect’s possession.

Although not officially designated as a terrorism case, the incident sent shock waves across Moscow where residents are fearful of Islamist revenge attacks in the wake of Russia’s intervention in Syria.

Eye witnesses said there was panic on the street by the metro station as the woman paced about shouting Islamist slogans. “There were lots of people running about and shouting ‘terrorist attack’,” a witness told the independent television station TV Rain.

Police have released few details about the murder suspect or the victim’s family.

Moskovsky Komsomolsk, a Russian newspaper, filled in some of the gaps citing an anonymous police officer who identified the nanny as 38-year-old Gyulchekra Bobokulova, a citizen of Uzbekistan. The murdered child had suffered birth defects and was unable to walk, the paper said.

Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov urged parents to check the mental health of their babysitters. “ Not [just] once has it happened that nannies hired to care for children have in fact beaten and tortured children,” he wrote on Twitter. “Now it has come to murder.”

Russian officials called on Monday for tighter checks on migrants from central Asia who go to Moscow in search of work.

Bakhrom Khamroev, the head of the Society for Political Refugees from central Asia, said reports that a Russian child had been killed by an Uzbek nanny would amplify xenophobic sentiment in Moscow where central Asian migrants were already widely seen as potential “extremists and terrorists.”

“It’s a tragedy of course, but I am afraid the authorities will use this murder to launch even tighter controls over the migrant community,” he said.