A Russian court has sentenced a woman to 15-years imprisonment for setting her 8-year-old son ablaze after he told his stepfather that she was unfaithful.
Anastasia Baulina, 32, from the Kursk region near the border with Ukraine, admitted to dousing son Andrey with petrol before setting fire to him.
Baulina had tried to convince a court that she only meant to punish Andrey and not kill him, saying she had quickly put out the flames with snow.
But judges dismissed her claims after 12-year-old daughter Natalya recounted how it was actually stepfather Pavel, 35, who extinguished the fire.
Natalya said that Baulina had made her watch as she doused Andrey with fuel, before telling her ‘let’s go watch how the scarecrow burns’.
In a reenactment that was filmed by police, Baulina demonstrated on a plastic dummy how she poured petrol over Andrey’s head. She then struck three matches which all blew out, before successfully lighting a fourth which she threw at his jumper.
She recounted how Andrey had run screaming into the garden and fallen down on his hands and knees before claiming she covered him with snow.
Despite Andrey’s hands being on fire, Baulina said she helped him douse the flames. But Natalya gave a very different account, saying it was actually Pavel who put the fire out after he heard the boy’s screams and came running from inside the house.
Meanwhile Baulina screamed at the boy: ‘I will teach you to keep your mouth shut.’
Natalya added that Andrey had begged his mother ‘please, don’t’ before she lit the match, but she had ignored his pleas.
Andrey was rushed to hospital but died in agony the following day as he was being taken by ambulance to a specialist burns unit.
The court also heard how Baulina had earlier held the boy’s hand over a gas cooker flame when he took food from the fridge.
Baulina was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in jail. She also denied adultery, though evidence collected from her phone showed that she was in another relationship.
One message said: ‘I live with one person, have feelings for another.’
After being sentenced, the killer smiled from behind a mask as she told a local newspaper: ‘I’m not guilty of pre-mediated murder, for sure.
‘Yes, I wanted to scare my child, but I did not wish him dead. So it was destined by God for him and me.’
Her husband used his constitutional right not to testify at her hearing, while her daughter is now being raised by a foster family.