The fisherman, held on charges of cannibalism, was sentenced to 3.5 years on probation. This is the outcome of the story of the mysterious disappearance of a company of friends in the taiga of Yakutia in the autumn of 2012. Four men went fishing that day: two residents of the Saratov region and two local residents. A few months later, rescuers found only two of the four men. Human remains were found close to the site, where the men were discovered.
One of the fishermen, Alexei Gorulenko, eventually admitted to investigators that he had eaten his friend. He stressed, however, that he had not killed anyone. According to the man, his companion died a natural death.
A district court sentenced Gorulenko to 3.5 years on probation. He was charged under Part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code – “Intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm.” The man was released in the courtroom. The court explained that as long as the Russian legislation does not have a criminal article for cannibalism, only one case was sent to court.
It is worth noting that the prosecutor demanded the suspect should be jailed for ten years. Relatives of the victim intend to appeal the sentence, vesti.ru reports
In July 2012, Alexei Gorulenko, a resident Volsk, went to catch trout in the Sutam River with a friend of his, Andrei Kurochkin. In the Amur region, they met two other men – Alexander Abdullaev and Victor Komarov. Soon afterwards, the company of men stopped establishing radio contact. As it became known later, their UAZ vehicle with supplies and fishing gear drowned in the river, and the men got lost in the forest.
Gorulenko and Abdullaev were found only at the end of November – they were seriously exhausted. Later, near the place of their discovery, rescuers found human remains. Expertise later confirmed that the remains belonged to Andrei Kurochkin. The whereabouts of the fourth man, Komarov, who worked as a gold miner in the past, remain unknown. Investigators assumed that the men were traveling to find gold, not fish. Their trip eventually ended with a criminal case.
The widow of Andrei Kurochkin, Olga, said that she was shocked by the sentence. The woman hoped that the court would bring down the most severe sentence on Gorulenko. She demanded 5 million rubles in moral damages from Gorulenko, and the prosecutor supported the claim.
“Nobody expected such a turn of events – probation for a cannibal! It is unclear what the judge was being guided with during sentencing. I have a few guesses, including a corruption component,” the woman said.
According to her version, Gorulenko was hazing her husband during the trip, humiliating and beating him. When Kurochkin died from beatings (Gorulenko allegedly smashed his head with a log), the friends dismembered his body to cook and consume as food. As Olga Kurochkin said, it looked like investigation into the death of her husband was being hampered deliberately. She recalled that Gorulenko was detained only after she addressed the Russian President and Attorney General.
According to SakhaNews, the fishermen themselves say that they went fishing, but their vehicle sank in the Sutam River as they were trying to cross it. The men could not go back and decided to go into the taiga. They reached a winter hut, but one of the men hurt his leg on the way. The fishermen decided to split: one of them remained in the cabin together with the wounded, and two others continued walking, in a hope to find help.
“We believe that the two survivors, not to starve to death, could kill and eat their friend, – investigators said. – However, the men deny their involvement in the death of the man. There were visible traces of cutting found on the discovered human remains, which means that the victim was dismembered.”
Olga Kurochkin said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that her husband was a big fan of hunting, and his friend was an avid fisherman. They were going to spend about two months in the woods.
“When the UAZ drowned, they decided to walk to the hunting lodge, because all supplies, food and clothes went under the water together with the vehicle. They met a man who had a radio and informed their relatives that everything was fine. They were going to return by going back to where they came from. But then it snowed, and it was impossible to walk. They had to split up – my husband had an infection in a lymph node and could not walk fast enough,” the woman said.
According to her, two fishermen managed to survive after they found skis in one of the winter cabins.