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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 14:54 GMT
'Chess murders' Russian charged
Students in a Moscow park
Moscow parks were some of the favoured dumping grounds
A Russian who reportedly said he wanted to kill 64 people to correspond with the squares on a chess board has been charged in Moscow with 49 murders.

Alexander Pichushkin is suspected of being the "Bitsyevskiy maniac", named after the park where 14 of the victims' bodies were found.

He has allegedly confessed to killing 62 people over six years and reportedly said he had missed his goal.

Prosecutors say they only have evidence to pursue 49 cases.

Psychiatric tests

Mr Pichushkin, who worked at a small grocery store in south-west Moscow, was arrested in June on suspicion of killing a female colleague, whose body was found in Bitsyevskiy park the day before.

The woman, Marina Moskaleva, had reportedly left Mr Pichushkin's number with her son before she was killed.

The killings began in 2000 and led to bodies being found in many parks and other places across the Russian capital.

Many, but by no means all, of the victims were elderly men, and there was little else to link the murders, except that they were caused by a blow to the head.

The head of the Russian interior ministry's criminal investigation department, Alexander Kshevitsky, told the MosNews website that Mr Pichushkin was yet to undergo psychiatric tests to see whether he was fit to stand trial.

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