In the Media

Hospital bed murderer jailed for killing wife and mother-in-law

PUBLISHED June 15, 2012

Sergei Zolotovsky, 44, was told he will serve at least 30 years in prison for killing Svetlana Zolotovska, 40, and her mother Antonina Belska, 70.

He attacked Ms Zolotovska as she walked to work in Beckton Park, east London, in August 2010, stabbing her and then cutting her throat.

The Russian-born welder was furious over a financial settlement that had been made as part of their acrimonious divorce two days before.

Zolotovsky then went to their former marital home in Newham, east London, and stabbed Mrs Belska, 70, before trying to set fire to the house and cutting his wrists and throat.

Passing sentence today, Judge Stephen Kramer QC said: "In your view your ex-wife was a sinner, indeed you wrote a note calling her a sinner. In your opinion she had taken everything and left you with nothing.

"The attack on your ex-wife was pitiless. I'm satisfied that you were prepared to use extreme violence to get your revenge.

"You inflicted savage injuries on her in anger by stabbing and slashing her with the knife you had bought for the purpose.

"Not content with doing that, you then ran to Leamouth Road and finding Antonina Belska there, you killed her too."

Twelve days after the murders, Zolotovsky tried to commit suicide by throwing himself from a prison landing and was paralysed from the waist down.

This meant that, in what is thought to be a legal first, he was allowed to appear at the Old Bailey in a hospital bed.

A jury took just over half an hour to convict him of the double murder in March.

Today, prosecutor Zoe Johnson QC read a victim impact statement from Ms Zolotovska's brother and Mrs Belska's son Cheslav Belsky.

He said the family had suffered "indescribable grief" when they heard their relatives had been murdered "in the most horrific and merciless way".

"I don't know how I can describe my feelings accurately. I can only say they were feelings of abject horror, numbing shock and complete disbelief at such brutal and barbaric murders," the statement added.

"My father was completely destroyed by the news, he became entirely overcome by shock, stress and grief.

"The cruel and merciless murder at the hands of the former husband extinguished the lives of our loved ones, our precious and closest relatives.

"Nobody and nothing will possibly return them to us."

In mitigation, the court heard that Zolotovsky was angered that he was ordered to sign the marital home over to his ex-wife, whom he wrongly believed had been unfaithful.

Zolotovsky lay in his bed in the well of the court flanked by a nurse and an interpreter, showing little visible emotion.

Charles Bott QC, defending, said: "This was clearly a grotesque episode of destructive behaviour which had a specific and, as we saw in the trial, a clearly identifiable cause.

"What he could not live with was his own sense of injustice at the outcome of a court hearing two days before these offences.

"What he has done for lamentable reasons is to destroy three lives, including his own."