A glamour photographer convicted of torching and murdering his model wife has been released from jail early after serving just seven years.
Dmitry Loshagin, 46, broke the neck of his 28-year-old lover who had been “violently raped” shortly before her death, a Russian court found.
Yulia Loshagin’s naked remains were found in a forest, where her killer had doused her body in petrol and set fire to her corpse.
The victim's face and hands were so badly disfigured that she was only identified by DNA evidence.
Courts had previously blocked his early release for “good behaviour” in the high profile case, while domestic abuse campaigners claimed he should have served at least 20 years.
This week a video showed him hugging his mother after being freed.
But the Russian prosecutor claimed the judge’s decision was “unfounded” and suggested an appeal could be lodged in a bid to send him back to jail.
A campaigner against domestic abuse in Russia said the "short" sentence was an example of how violence and murder by spouses is not taken seriously in Russia.
In 2017, the country decriminalised certain forms of domestic violence, classifying them as an administrative offence and not a crime. Penalties were generally limited to fines, even for repeat offenders.
According to reports, the country saw a surge of domestic violence during the restrictions of the pandemic.
Brutal murder came after fight at party
Loshagin and his wife had reportedly quarrelled at a party in their rooftop penthouse in August 2013, and she was never seen alive again.
He lashed out at her, and broke her neck, said judge Alexandra Evladova convicting him of murder in 2015, when he was sentenced to almost ten years in jail.
There were unproven claims he had killed her because he believed she had a lover and feared she infected him with HIV.
Another purported theory in the public domain suggested she died during a bizarre sex session with Loshagin.
There were also newspaper allegations Yulia was killed by a professional assassin hired by her alleged lover, an unnamed “elderly" state official whose identity was hidden, amid fears their relationship would be revealed.
Russian detectives discounted claims she had a secret boyfriend despite Loshagin giving them the name of a man he suspected she was seeing.
"They didn't pay attention," he claimed.
"As an investigator told me: 'According to our statistics, as a rule, a husband kills. So, you'll be in jail'."
The victim's mother pleaded with a judge over his release.
"Your Honour, there is nothing worse than burying your children. I remember how they lived, how Loshagin treated her.
"He is a terrible person. There is no certainty that he will not commit another such crime," she said.
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