Beaten, then eaten!

My girls infatuation was deadly...

Published by: Danny Grafton and Amy Thompson
Published on: 7th July 2010

The things you do when you’re a teenager in love. Looking at my daughter Karina, 16, rummaging through her wardrobe for a black top, I rolled my eyes.
Her room was a tip as she hunted high and low for dark accessories to go with her outfit. All this fuss over a lad.
‘He’s an Emo,’ she’d gushed proudly when she’d first told me about Max, 19.
‘Right… Isn’t that some sort of long-legged bird?’ I’d asked.
‘No,’ Karina had giggled. ‘It’s a style. They dress in dark clothes and make-up and listen to really cool music. He’s in a band, too.’
‘Oh,’ I’d nodded, smiling.
She was clearly smitten.
But a few weeks later, when I’d met Max, a butcher, I’d been far from impressed. Pushy and arrogant, he came across as a
right Jack-the-lad.
‘All right?’ he’d nodded sullenly when Karina had introduced us.
He wasn’t exactly every mum’s well-mannered dream.
Then there was the three-year age gap. Boys of Max’s age were normally only interested in one thing.
What if Karina felt pressured into having sex?
After all, she’d already completely changed her style to suit him. Gone were the pretty flowery tops she used to wear, now she was constantly clad in black.
What else would he talk her into?
I was worried, but I held my tongue. I didn’t want Karina thinking she couldn’t talk to me about stuff. If she knew I disapproved, she probably wouldn’t tell me anything.
After hanging out with him and their other friends at weekends for a few months, though, Karina came home one day in tears.
‘What’s the matter, love?’ I asked, perching on the edge of her bed while she sobbed into her pillow.
‘Max has always said I’m too young for him,’ she sniffed, looking up at me tearfully. ‘But now he’s got a girlfriend – and she’s my age!’
I sighed, hugging her.
Okay, I was secretly pleased Max wasn’t dating my daughter, but I still felt bad for her.
Poor love had been totally besotted with him for months. Now, he’d broken her heart.
‘There’ll be other boys,’ I soothed. ‘It just wasn’t meant to be this time.’
‘I don’t want anyone else,’ she grumbled. ‘Why doesn’t he like me, Mum?’
Cupping her face in my hands, I looked into her chocolate brown eyes, full of warmth and love.
‘Because he’s a fool,’ I smiled. ‘And he doesn’t deserve you.’
‘You have to say that,’ she smiled weakly, brushing away tears with the palm of her hand.
‘Come on,’ I grinned. ‘You can come and give me a hand getting tea ready. Then we’ll eat ice cream, and I’ll tell you all about how many boys broke my heart before
I met your dad.’
‘Okay,’ she nodded, brightening a little.
Over the next few weeks, I watched Karina’s spirits lift. She even started going to visit her old mates again after school.
I was so pleased she was getting over that idiot Max at last that when she called, after school one night, to tell me she was going to her mate Julia’s to do homework,
I was thrilled.
‘That’s fine sweetheart,’ I told her over the phone. ‘Are you staying there for dinner?’
‘Yeah,’ she replied. ‘I’ll be home about 9pm. We’ve got a project to finish. Julia’s mum said she’ll give me a lift home. Is that okay?’
‘Sure,’ I said, relieved she wasn’t sulking or pining after Max any more. ‘See you later.’
Only, when 9pm neared, I got another call from Karina.
‘We still haven’t finished this project,’ she told me. ‘It’s got to be in tomorrow. Julia’s mum said I can stay over tonight, though, if that’s all right with you?’
‘As long as she doesn’t mind,’ I smiled. ‘You girls have a good night. I’ll see you in the morning for breakfast.’
Julia only lived 10 minutes down the road, so I knew Karina would be home by 7am in time to get ready for school.
‘Cool. Thanks Mum. Love you,’ she said, hanging up.
Next morning, I was up early frying up bacon and eggs for breakfast – Karina’s favourite. Just what she’d need after a hard night’s studying.
But as the minutes ticked by,
and breakfast started getting cold,
I began to worry.
It was almost 7.30am. She was going to be late for school if she didn’t get her act together.
Picking up the phone, I called her mobile. It was switched off.
‘Probably run out of battery,’ I mumbled, punching in Julia’s home number instead.
Her mum Marie answered.
‘Is Karina still with you?’ I asked, cheerfully. ‘Only, she’s going to be late if she doesn’t get back here soon and I’ve cooked bacon and…’
‘Umm, Karina’s not here,’ Marie interrupted, puzzled.
‘What? Have they gone to school already?’ I asked.
‘No, Julia’s getting ready now, but I haven’t seen Karina at all,’ she replied.
My heart hammered in my chest.
‘What?!’ I breathed. ‘But… she said she was staying over at yours. Do you know where she is?’
‘Hang on, I’ll check with Julia,’ she said, calling out to her.
But Julia hadn’t seen her since they’d walked home from school the day before.
‘She didn’t say anything to me about going anywhere after school,’ Julia insisted when I
spoke to her.
Hanging up, I kicked myself for not asking to speak to Marie the night before to check it was okay for Karina to stay over.
Where the hell was she?
Calling the police, I reported her missing. But they said they couldn’t search for her until she’d been missing for three days!
Her friends put out posters with her picture on and my hubby Oliver scoured the streets.
‘Why would she lie to me?’ I asked, frantic with worry. Oliver shook his head, as lost as me.
Then it hit me – Max! Was she still seeing him?
Racing into her room, I rummaged through her drawers looking for her diary.
I’d always vowed to respect her privacy, and I’d never looked before, but I had to find my baby.
Flicking through the pages, Max’s name was dotted across each one.
Why doesn’t Max love me? she’d written again and again.
Then, I came to the last entry made a few days earlier.
Max tried calling me 34 times today, she’d written. I’m not talking to him though.
Calling round a few of her friends, I asked if any of them had Max’s number, but no one could help. What if he’d convinced Karina to run away with him?
I was going out of my mind by the time the police finally got involved three days later – I gave them Max’s name straight away.
‘We’ve already spoken to him,’ an officer told me. ‘He says he hasn’t seen her.’
I wasn’t convinced, but at least I knew he hadn’t fled the country with my little girl.
For almost two weeks, we hunted everywhere we could think of for any sign of Karina.
Every time I saw a girl in the supermarket with long dark hair, my heart missed a beat thinking that it was her.
I couldn’t eat or sleep. All I could do was picture her face, and my whole body willed her to come home, safe and sound.
Then, getting ready to go to the police station one morning, something on the telly caught
my attention.
‘The body of a teenage girl has been found after two men allegedly cut her up and ate her after drowning her in a bath,’ said the news reporter.
I winced at the thought.
What kind of monster would do something so sick?
My heart went out to the poor girl and her parents. What hell they must be going through!
Suddenly, my knees buckled though. My body went numb as a picture of a dark-haired girl in a black top flashed up on the screen.
‘The girl is thought to be
Karina Buduchyan, who went missing two weeks ago,’ said the voice as Karina’s innocent face gazed back at me.
‘No!’ I croaked, my hand flying to my mouth as I wretched.
‘No, no, no!’
Grabbing my bag, I drove as fast as I could to the police station with Oliver. ‘How could you let me find out like that?’ I shrieked at them, shaking uncontrollably.
‘That’s my baby…’ I said before collapsing on to the floor.
‘We need someone to formally identify Karina,’ an officer gently told me later.
I shook my head. I couldn’t do it. Oliver couldn’t face it either. In the end, my sister Vera did it.
‘It’s her,’ she nodded tearfully as I fell into her arms sobbing.
‘Why?’ I asked the police tearfully. ‘Who would do such an evil thing?’
‘We’ve arrested Max Glavatskikh and his friend Yury Mozhnov, and they’ve confessed to the crime,’ said an officer.
My mind reeled in disbelief.
‘Max?’ I gasped. ‘I don’t understand. Why would he…?
She loved him!’
The officer shook his head and sighed. ‘We don’t know all the details yet.’
In the months that followed, as we waited for the trial to begin, things went from bad to worse.
I had to have counselling, and Oliver suffered a stroke.
I was torn between wanting to know what had happened to my girl and burying my head in the sand, trying to ignore the fact that she was gone.
When the trial finally began this April, I no longer had a choice.
Listening as Max and Yury told the court how they’d had a few friends over for drinks that night, my blood boiled.
‘Karina came over to get a hat she’d left at mine,’ Max explained. ‘She told her mum she was at a friend’s house so she could stay and have a few drinks.’
He went on to tell the court that while everyone else had gone home, and their flatmate Katya had gone to bed, Karina was still there and had begun to get on his and Yury’s nerves.
‘She decided to have a bath, and I followed her in,’ Max said. ‘We were drunk…’
Bile rose in my throat as Yury continued. ‘She was screaming, “No, Max, No!” but we’d decided to drown her because she was annoying us.’
Then it was Katya’s turn to tell her side of events.
‘I heard screaming that night, but when I got up Yury convinced me to go back to bed. When I got up for work the next day, the flat had been tidied, but I didn’t think anything of it,’ she explained.
‘When I got home, there was this delicious smell of cooking in the flat – the boys had made a stew with potatoes…’ she added.
Her head fell as she continued.
‘Me and the boys had dinner, then they asked how the meat was.
‘I said it was okay and asked what they’d used…’
She flinched as she continued. ‘They told me it was Karina, and started laughing – but I didn’t think for a minute they were serious. Who would?!’
I felt sick. Those vile lads had killed my baby, then used a kitchen knife to cut the flesh from her body, before cooking it in a stew and serving it up to their flatmate!
Afterwards, they’d thrown her body in a skip.
I couldn’t listen to any more. Getting up, I fled the courtroom gagging. I wasn’t the only one – a member of the jury was physically sick after seeing pictures of Karina’s remains.
Max and Yury were both found guilty of her murder. Max was sentenced to 19 years in prison, while Yury was given 18 years.
I’ll never know what Karina did to make them do what they did to her.
I still don’t understand why they didn’t just ask her to leave if she was annoying them so  much. All Karina did was love Max. How can love be so deadly?

• Katya Zinovyeva, 22, says: ‘When the two boys told me the meat in the stew was Karina, I didn’t take them seriously. They were always joking about stupid things.
‘I was away the next week on a training course. When I got back, they’d been arrested. Now I’m so ashamed I ate human flesh.’
Nadya Buduchyan, 46, Russia