A brilliant female serial killer, who covered her crimes for quite a long time even after jotting down every detail of the murders in her journal. Well, that was Tamara Samsonova dubbed as the Granny ripper and the Baba Yaga.
Tamara Mitrofanovna Samsonova was born on 5th February 1947, in the city of Uzhur. She was a Russian serial killer who is believed to have killed more than thirteen people. After graduating from Moscow State Linguistic University she moved to Petersburg, where she married Alexei Samsonov.
In 1971 Tamara and her husband settled in their newly built aesthetic home at Dimitrov Street. She further joined a tourist facility to work as an assistant in the Grand Hotel Europe and gained around sixteen years of experience there.
Crime Period of Tamara Samsonova
Tamara’s crime span was between 2000-2015 in St. Petersburg. In the 2000s, her husband went missing. Post her complaint to the police, a thorough investigation was held. However, he was nowhere to be found. The case was closed stating that he probably ran away and Tamara supported that statement too claiming that he had been having an affair and when she cornered him with her questions he had left and since then never returned.
After the disappearance of Tamara’s husband, her neighbors stated that she was a frequent victim of depression. The truth to these statements however was not proved. It was two months since her husband disappeared and Tamara decided to give a portion of her house for rent. People thought it was a good idea, having the company of people could improve her mental state.
However as the time passed, Tamara’s neighbors started to suspect her behavior and the frequency in which she used to gain new tenants. When asked about it, she claimed that she is a hard person who can cringe at times and people don’t get along with her often. But curiosity being gifted in abundance to humans, her neighbors started to suspect that something fishy was going on indeed.
Caught By The Snap
On July 27, 2015, Tamara Samsonova had the police visiting her home. Finally, the neighbors’ doubts were cleared and she indeed had her secrets. The police arrested her after receiving CCTV footage from the street which portrayed Tamara dumping the dismembered body of the latest person she killed into a dumpster.
The person who sent that video to the police is still unknown. However, on checking the original copy from their colony block it was proved to be true.
According to the investigators, Tamara’s first resident who used to live in her house after the disappearance of her husband once got into an argument with her as a result of which she killed him, dismembered his body, and disposed of in the street.
The resident was 45 years old and a resident of Norilsk. But the most shocking among Tamara’s confessions to the police was that her husband did not go missing and was killed by her instead. The location where she claimed to have dumped his body did not have a trace of it. The body was not found anywhere else either.
In March 2015, Tamara met 79-year old Valentina Nikolaevna Ulanova who lived in the same street as her and their common friend asked Ulanova if she could let Tamara stay with her for a while until the renovations at Tamara’s home were done.
Tamara then moved in with Ulanova and started to live normally helping Ulanova with household works as well. She started liking the apartment and wished to live there for a longer period as a result of which both the women got into a conflict and Ulanova politely asked her to move out. This triggered Tamara and she decided to kill Ulanova.
To kill Ulanova, Tamara chose to poison her using the most common drug in Russia which was brought in by The Soviet Union, Phenazepam. It is a benzodiazepine drug with analgesic and schizophrenic effects. If taken above the lethal dose it can be a dangerous killer.
Tamara traveled till Pushkin, a suburban village in Northwestern Russia, where she managed to get a druggist to sell her the chemical and while returning bought Ulanova’s favorite Olivier salad. She gave it to Ulanova after mixing the poison.
While the drug kicked in giving the schizophrenic effect with heavy fatigue indicating the first step to death, Tamara chopped Ulanova’s body using a hacksaw while she was still alive. Her torso was found by the police in a pond in St.Petersburg. It was the disposal of Ulanova’s body that was caught in the CCTV footage.
Tamara recorded her killing spree in her journal. She filled it up like a teenage girl who excitedly fills in her diary, the difference being she filled it with the list of people she gruesomely killed.
Schizophrenia & Anxiety Disorder
Tamara Samsonova was a known victim of anxiety disorder since her teenage years, the reason for which is unknown. It is estimated that she had undergone some huge amount of immense trauma that pushed her into depression for a long period. She also was a victim of Schizophrenia due to which she was hospitalized thrice.
The mental disorder that can lead to a continuous relapsing episode of Psychosis is referred to as Schizophrenia. It can result in typical symptoms of hallucinations, being paranoid, disorderly thinking followed by social withdrawal, and decreased emotional apathy for others.
Tamara was forced to take a forensic psychiatry test and on November 26, 2015, the result proved that she was a danger to society and herself.
Arrest Trial And Sentence
Following the arrest and the result of her psychological test, she was sent to a specialized institution in 2015 for treatment followed by imprisonment at the same place in Kazan. Even though the punishment offered was life imprisonment, she would be analyzed post the treatment period to finalize the sentence.