Pavlohrad maniac Serhiy Tkach committed 37 proven murders in Ukraine, including Crimea, and his victims were mostly little girls. The maniac first strangled his victims, and then raped their corpses.
The best detectives tried to catch Serhiy Tkach, and once even the famous clairvoyant Vanga was involved in his search. By the time the killer was detained, the police had sent 11 people to jail for his crimes. Confessions were obtained by severe beatings and torture.
Serhiy Tkach was born on September 15, 1957 in the city of Kiselevsk (Kemerovo region of Russia). The family, whose head worked as a miner, had many children – Serhiy became the fourth child in it. Parents had no time for children, all their energy and time was spent on work. But for children’s misconduct in the family, severe punishment was imposed. Serhiy Tkach especially suffered from this approach to upbringing: he grew up as a sickly, withdrawn and unsociable child, moreover, he had a slender physique, which made the boy very vulnerable among his peers. According to some reports, in childhood, the future maniac was even observed by a psychiatrist.
To get in shape, Tkach began to play sports – weightlifting – and even achieved some success in this matter, becoming a champion among juniors in his hometown. His sports career developed rapidly: the weightlifter took medals at regional competitions and became a candidate for master of sports.
But all hopes for a great future were dashed by one unsuccessful training session, in which Tkach damaged the tendon of his left arm, after which he left the big sport. The injury also put an end to Serhiy’s plans to get a higher sports education – because of her, he was not admitted to the Omsk Institute of Physical Education, and he did not have a heart for other disciplines, so Tkach joined the army soon after school. He served in the Tiksi Bay on the Laptev Sea, and was engaged in deciphering aerial photography of various objects.
Serhiy Tkach liked the sea so much that he decided to enter the Sevastopol Naval School and, without waiting for demobilization, successfully passed all the exams. However, Serhiy was again disappointed: at the medical examination he was diagnosed with heart problems. As a result, he was expelled from the school and sent to serve on military service. The shock from this failure at the Weaver was so strong that he decided to commit suicide. He was rescued, but after a suicide attempt he was discharged.
Get out of the police
However, Serhiy Tkach was in no hurry to go home and decided to stay in Tiksi to earn money. During this period, the sadistic inclinations of the Weaver were fully manifested: he got a job in the service of catching dogs. While his colleagues were shooting the dogs with a service weapon, Serhiy wielded fittings – he preferred to slaughter animals to death. According to the maniac’s recollections, the process of skinning, which he then sold to local craftsmen for the manufacture of fur products, brought him the most pleasant sensations.
Surprisingly, with such an attitude towards animals, Serhiy Tkach, having already become a serial killer, got a dog. The dog became the best friend of the maniac, to whom he poured out his soul after the crimes. Having saved up money, Tkach returned to his native Kiselevsk.
At home, he got a job in the police, first as an ordinary inspector of the criminal investigation department, and later trained as a forensic expert. For this, Tkach was sent to study at the correspondence department of the Novosibirsk police school of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. But even during his studies, in 1979, he was forced to write a report “on his own” – in his own ROVD, he forged some official documents, which quickly became clear. He was automatically expelled from the special school.
By this time, he had managed to start a family. By the way, Tkach’s relations with women were developing normally. There was only one episode when Sergei began to dislike the fair sex. In the seventh grade, he started an affair with a girl a year younger than him and sought intimacy, but the schoolgirl brought up in strict Soviet traditions did not agree to intimate relationships, which caused a storm of unpleasant emotions in the soul of an already notorious teenager.
The relationship with his wife also went wrong: they often quarreled and sorted out the relationship. After being fired from the authorities, Tkach got a job at a railway station and became addicted to alcohol. He even set a kind of record: he could pour a bottle of vodka into himself in 13 seconds.
Meanwhile, scandals in the Tkach family happened more and more often. After another scandal in 1980, he took one of his sons and went to his parents, who by that time had moved to the Crimean village of Skvortsovo. A couple of days later, Sergei’s angry wife came there and demanded that the child be returned. The weaver refused, and then the woman, under the pretext of saying goodbye to her son, asked Sergei to come with the boy to the airport.
There, Serhiy Tkach was awaited by a police squad and his wife, who in a matter of hours acquired a court order on the child’s place of residence in her favor. Sergei was taken to the department, where he spent a couple of days. Returning home and learning that his wife and son flew away on the day of his arrest, 27-year-old Sergei lost his temper. On the same day, he committed his first murder …
As it turns out later, Weaver drank two bottles of wine and went for a walk, during which he noticed a young woman. Attacking from behind, he pinched the victim’s carotid artery, and when she stopped showing signs of life, he raped. Realizing what he had done, Weaver decided to confess everything. He called the police and reported the deed, but did not wait for the arrival of the order – he ran away. The detectives could not find the killer.
The weaver did not want to stay in Crimea, but did not plan to return to Kiselevsk either. He decided to move to Pavlograd (Dnepropetrovsk region). There he remarried and became a father again – in 1983, his wife gave birth to a daughter. However, despite the arranged family life, the desire to kill no longer left Tkach.
Then he decided to kill not only adult women, but girls as well. Perhaps, memories of the first bad experience in relationships with the opposite sex played a role. The first young victim was a ten-year-old schoolgirl, whom he watched on October 31, 1984, when she was going to music school. The maniac dragged the girl to an abandoned creamery, where he strangled and raped. After the murder, the Weaver took the murdered woman’s music book and wristwatch. By the way, he also took from other victims something of their personal belongings – from lipstick and an umbrella to shoes and dolls.
“I knew how they would look for me”
In vain, the detectives tried to find at least some evidence on the body of the deceased – during his service as a forensic expert, Serhiy Tkach gained knowledge, which then helped him to hide from his former colleagues for a long time. “At one time I had the fourth level of security clearance. Including murder cases. I’ve read them. And I knew how they would look, what to look for. I knew everything, ”Tkach boasted in an interview.
For example, the maniac in most cases strangled the victims just before the rape – so that they would not leave marks on him. Be sure to use a condom. All the belongings of the victims, on which prints could remain, Weaver took with him. The maniac rode a bicycle or left the scene of the crime along the railway sleepers treated with creosote – he knew that in this case the dogs would not take the trail. And he tried to commit murders not far from roads and railways – he hoped that visitors or truckers would fall under suspicion.
On February 23, 1985, Serhiy Tkach committed a new crime – he attacked a second grader. Despite the fact that after the previous murder at the creamery, which the whole city talked about, the parents saw off and met the girl from school, that day she returned home alone – her mother stayed at the clinic and did not have time to finish school. The weaver intercepted the schoolgirl right next to the house, dragged her into the basement, killed and outraged.
After the second murder, the best detectives from all over the Union were sent to Pavlograd. They even turned to the famous clairvoyant Vanga for help. But the general efforts to find the criminal led nowhere. By the way, according to the confessions of the Pavlograd maniac, as the people managed to christen Tkach, since 1985 he was detained several times by police officers on suspicion of murder, but each time he got out of the water – most often he gave bribes to law enforcement officers.
From impunity, Serhiy Tkach became so insolent that he was not afraid to attack right under the noses of the operatives. Once, knowing that an ambush awaited him in the forest belt, the maniac calmly waited until the policemen left for lunch. And then right on the spot of their “duty post” he committed another crime
Punishment of the Serhiy
During his stay in Pavlograd, Tkach made about 30 attacks, many of which ended in the death of the victims. And in 2000, his wife went for a promotion – she was offered to become the deputy director of an oil mill in the city of Pologi, where the family soon moved in full force. Serhiy Tkach held on in his new place for three years, and then began to kill again. So from the Pavlograd maniac, he became Pologovsky.
The bodies of strangled and raped women and girls began to be found in the city and its environs. One of the schoolgirls – a ninth-grader who was returning from a computer club – he dealt with next to a residential building, covering her body with an iron sheet. Another, a 13-year-old local woman, was strangled with schoolbag straps and raped in a local grove.
Gray hair was found on the victim’s body, but instead of looking for the real killer, the law enforcement officers chose to frame the innocent. One of the local residents was arrested, who was staying with his mother that day, and walked home the same path as the victim of Serhiy Tkach. The fact that he did not have gray hair did not embarrass the police at all.
The man turned out to be a tough nut to crack – despite severe beatings, sleep deprivation and food deprivation, he refused to admit what he had not done. He broke down only after he was told that his two-year-old daughter would be run over by a car and his wife would be raped. Frightened for his family, he signed a confession and served 4.5 of the appointed years. His story was the first of many.
As in the case of the search for the serial killer Gennady Mikhasevich, innocent people paid for the crimes committed by Serhiy Tkach. In July 1989, a maniac killed a nine-year-old girl in a small village near Pavlograd. After this crime, the father of the deceased was arrested. The investigators did not have much evidence, and then they skillfully processed the victim’s mother, convincing her that her husband had killed not only their daughter, but also other schoolgirls whose bodies were found in the vicinity.
As a result, a grief-stricken woman wrote a denunciation of her husband, he was detained on the same day and demanded to confess to 22 murders and rapes. And no matter how he tried to prove his innocence, the case went to court. As a result, the suspect’s nerves could not stand it, and he took his own life in the cell of the remand prison.
After that, the inhabitants of the village unleashed their anger on the widow of the “killer”: her house was set on fire several times, kicked out of the school where she worked as a teacher, and brought to the brink of starvation. She was able to get a job only after 10 years. The elder sister of the murdered girl got married several times, but her personal life did not work out: under pressure from her husbands and their relatives, she performed several abortions – her relatives tried to convince her that it was impossible to continue the “maniac” family.
And her 14-year-old uncle was accused of the murder of a nine-year-old resident of the city of Pologi, whom Serhiy Tkach dealt with in 2002. Unfortunately, the teenager lived not far from the bridge, under which the killer left the body of a schoolgirl, and it was he who found the girl’s body. This circumstance turned out to be quite enough to take the boy to the department and extort a confession from him. The teenager recalled that the police literally played football for them, kicking like a ball with all their might. The young man received 15 years of imprisonment, and those 8 years that he served until his innocence was proved, was subjected to constant beatings and humiliation by inmates.
For other people’s sins
Another victim of the investigation was a 20-year-old tractor driver, a colleague of Serhiy Tkach – they worked together on a collective farm in the town of Pologi. In August 2003, a maniac attacked a nine-year-old girl and tried to strangle her. The weaver did not notice that the victim was still alive, he raped her and ran away. Passers-by stumbled upon the child in a state of shock and took the girl to the hospital.
However, the victim could not really explain anything, except that she was attacked by an unfamiliar uncle. Soon the detectives went on the trail of the tractor driver, who went to work just across the forest belt, where they found the girl. They “worked” with the man according to the standard scheme: in pursuit of confessionary statements, they brutally beat him and broke his leg. Fearing for his life, the suspect signed a confession to the murder and was sentenced to ten years in a maximum security colony.
Even a disabled person was tried to be held accountable for the murder of a schoolgirl in 2004, who, due to the characteristics of his body, could not raise his hands up. He barely managed to prove his innocence, having spent two months before that in a pre-trial detention center. Another victim of the police lawlessness was tried even before the moratorium on the death penalty and was shot, another accused was taken to a psychiatric hospital during the investigation.
Over the years while Serhiy Tkach committed his crimes, more than ten innocent men were imprisoned. At the same time, not a single policeman involved in their affairs was convicted. All got off with layoffs
While others were in prison for his crimes, Weaver continued to kill and rape. By 2000, the number of victims exceeded 30. At the same time, neither the maniac’s wives, friends, nor colleagues even knew about his secret life.
However, some oddities behind the Weaver were still noticed. For example, after work, he wiped his hands not with a towel, but with children’s panties. They also paid attention to the fact that Serhiy Tkach often repainted his bike and constantly changed his image. He would let go and shave off his hair, grow a mustache, and then came to work clean-shaven. Several times Serhiys noticed that Serhiy Tkach was somewhat similar to the composite that the police showed the local residents. But he only laughed it off.
By the way, the identikit was made in 2005 after a maniac attacked 18-year-old Olga Topalova, whom Serhiy Tkach noticed when she was working in the garden. He approached her, met her and then attacked. The maniac thought that he had strangled the victim, which, as it seemed to him, was convinced by checking the pulse on his neck and both hands. But he miscalculated – the victim survived and, as best she could, described the appearance of the attacker.
She remembered that the man had a mustache. All local owners of facial hair were taken to the department. Weaver was among them, but the girl, who, as it turned out, survived clinical death, did not recognize him. But the maniac remembered the victim and began to track down in order to finish off. But he didn’t have time.
“I don’t have a human face – I have tried everything”
The maniac committed his last crime in August 2005. By this time, a group of 600 detectives was working closely on the Tkach case, but the case helped to catch the criminal. Once Serhiy Tkach was resting on the shore of a local lake, children splashed nearby. After waiting for the older schoolchildren to go swimming, the maniac attacked the nine-year-old girl who remained on the shore, killed and raped.
Fully believing in his impunity, the killer even attended the funeral of his victim, where he portrayed regret and grief. Then he did not yet know that one of the local residents drew attention to him: he was fishing on the lake and saw Serhiy Tkach when he was sunbathing and swimming next to the children. The killer was sure that he was identified by the same schoolchildren who had gone swimming. The weaver lamented: he had to kill them too, he would go on free.
Meanwhile, during the arrest, he did not resist: he told the operatives that he had been waiting for them for 25 years, and calmly got into a police car, and when he was in the department, he almost immediately confessed to all the crimes. Thanks to his army skills in the field of aerial photography, the maniac drew a plan of the areas where he committed crimes with amazing accuracy. He told investigators that he never planned murders – he went to them either in a state of alcoholic intoxication (having drunk vodka with diphenhydramine), or in moments of mental clouding.
“I have no human form. I’ve tried everything in my life. And against the background of this bringing myself to a state of intoxication, it pushed me to commit brutal murders. (…) I want to make my life easier, get rid of my burden, which I have done in the area of evil. I want to get rid of, to confess frankly, so that I can calmly leave for another world, ”Tkach told the investigators.
The detainee made no secret of the fact that one of the purposes of his murders was to “wash” his former colleagues-policemen and prove to them that he is smarter and more cunning than the best detectives. That is why Tkach committed all his murders during the day and in public places – he showed that he was absolutely not afraid of justice. In addition, he dreamed of surpassing the notorious maniac Andrei Chikatilo.
The psychiatrist Vladimir Golovochuk, who examined the maniac, spoke about him like this: “He killed to be the coolest among the killers. In psychiatry, there is even such a concept – Herostratus syndrome: when a person commits a crime in order to become famous. The fact that he did not achieve the same fame as his “colleague” Chikatilo, Pologovsky was offended by the maniac. However, the media dubbed Tkach the “killer of the century.”
Maniac in a bulletproof vest
Serhiy Tkach did not regret the reprisals against the schoolgirls, but when asked what he would do if his children were treated the same way, he fell into a rage: “I would figure them out and chop them up like cabbage. I would remove the scalp, do craniotomy, take both hemispheres of the brain, cut out separate areas. I’m a maniac, I’m a serial killer! “
Weaver was afraid of only one thing – lynching. At one of the investigative experiments in Pologi, an angry crowd almost overturned the car in which the maniac was. Since then, the killer on the road demanded to issue him a Serhiy vest and provide increased security, but still he was always on the alert.
For example, during an investigative experiment at the cemetery, where the Weaver killed another victim, a funeral procession was going along the alley. The maniac flatly refused to get out of the car, convincing the operatives that among the mourners there might be a killer who had arrived to kill him.
The investigation into the Serhiy Tkach case went on for three long years. The maniac confessed to a hundred crimes. Only ten girls managed to survive the attacks of the Weaver, and they all recalled: committing crimes, he never looked the victim in the eyes.
Of the hundred crimes the accused confessed to, the investigation was able to prove 37. These murders were committed in the territories of Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov regions of Ukraine, as well as Crimea. The criminal case against Serhiy Tkach consisted of 105 volumes. It is not surprising that at a 2008 trial he was sentenced to life imprisonment in a colony in the city of Zhitomir.
“I am not a man, but a beast!”
Shortly before the verdict, psychiatrists found that the maniac is characterized by “pronounced egocentrism, emotional coldness, resentment, vulnerability, vindictiveness, inability to establish long-term warm relationships, as well as increased malice, irritability and aggressiveness.”
However, Serhiy Tkach was found sane. He claimed that he was able to predict his future: he will die in a psychiatric clinic. “I am not a man, but a beast! The same as Chikatilo. I need to make a movie about me, ”said the maniac.
Serhiy Tkach spent ten years in prison. During this time, the convict met by correspondence with a 27-year-old native of the Yaroslavl region. They got married, and in this marriage another daughter was born to Serhiy Tkach. And in general, behind bars, the maniac behaved very actively. For example, realizing the hype around his name, Tkach at one time tried to give interviews for money: he demanded a million dollars.
Part of these funds, according to the serial killer, he planned to give to his children, part to use to pay off debts for legal costs and compensation for moral damage to the relatives of the victims. In addition, the convict was ready to sell his life story to Hollywood screenwriters for three million dollars – he dreamed of being filmed by director Steven Spielberg
On November 5, 2018, Serhiy Tkach died of a heart attack in prison. Despite the fact that the leadership of the Zhytomyr colony No. 8, where the maniac was serving a life sentence, notified Tkach’s relatives about his death, no one, including his young wife, took the maniac’s body. He was buried in an unmarked grave at a cemetery in the Zhytomyr region.
(*)The name “Sergei”, widespread in Ukraine and Russia, has a slightly different sound and spelling in Russian and English. So, in Russian this name sounds like “Sergei”, in Ukrainian “Serhiy”.