By Will Stewart In Moscow for MailOnline
Published: 08:52 EDT, 11 April 2017 | Updated: 09:04 EDT, 11 April 2017
A policeman has been jailed for 18 years after he stabbed to death a family of three, cut up their bodies, then used a mincer and acid to try and destroy the evidence.
When Mikhail Dronik, 40, was detained, investigators found him nonchalantly sitting with a cup of blood from his victims.
He had chopped up the family's remains into small pieces, washed some parts into the sewer, and put the mother's head into his fridge, a Moscow court heard.
But despite using a meat mincer and kitchen knives to mutilate the corpses, Dronik denied being a cannibal, saying he only wanted to cover his tracks.
Mikhail Dronik, 40, has been jailed for 18 years after stabbing to death a family of three and mutilating their bodies using a meat mincer and sulphuric acid
Dronik was found guilty of killing Vyacheslav Savyolov, 43, his wife Yulia, 42, and their son Nikita, seven (pictured together), who he shared an apartment with
Arriving at the scene, on the outskirts of Moscow, his hardened police colleagues were 'overcome' by the horror, while others compared his massacre to the horror movie Silence of the Lambs.
Former senior lieutenant Dronik was found guilty this week of murdering Vyacheslav Savyolov, 43, his wife Yulia, 42, and their son Nikita, seven, in the Moscow suburb of Lyubertsy.
After police were alerted about the missing family, and former wrestler Dronik's disappearance, they broke into the flat which the policeman shared with them.
The severed head of the man was in a fish tank filled with sulphuric acid.
The woman's head was in the fridge, and the boy's was in a bucket, which Dronik was also trying to dissolve using acid.
Police called to Dronik's apartment found Yulia's head in the kitchen fridge, Nikita's head in a bucket of acid, and father Vyacheslav's head in a fish tank also full of acid
Despite being found holding a cup of blood, Dronik denied being a cannibal, saying he only used kitchen tools to cut up the bodies, not prepare them for eating
Dronik was a senior lieutenant in the Russian police and a former army commander
Anton Sidorov, of the Russian Investigative Committee, sometimes likened to the FBI, said: 'There was silence inside.
'Their guns ready, police went further and opened the door into one room.
'They saw missing Mikhail Dronik who sat on a chair, looking indifferent. Next to him was a cup of blood.
'He looked up and said: "Come on, guys, shoot. Waste your bullets on me."
'The scene shocked everyone - even in horror movies you hardly see this.'
Some officers 'rushed out' feeling physically sick, he said.
Investigator Natalia Goryacheva told how she saw body parts cut into pieces
'There was an aquarium, the head of a man was inside and sulphuric acid had been poured over it,' she recalled.
'Nearby was a plastic bucket with the head of the killed boy.
'We kept searching for the head of the woman. We went to the kitchen, and there were drops of blood everywhere.
'There was a chopping board and several knives and a metal handsaw. A broken mincing machine was there too.
Detectives called to the apartment struggled to cope with the brutal scene inside, with many having to leave after feeling physically sick, a Moscow court heard
Anton Sidorov, from Russia's Investigative Committee which is similar to the FBI, said the scene was worse than a horror movie
'One glance was enough to understand that all these tools were used to dismember the bodies.
'The mother's head was found on the lower shelf of the fridge.'
Dronik denied he was a cannibal, she said.
'It was easy to get the impression he had been drinking blood and eating the meat of the killed people,' she said.
'But the criminal denied all this. According to Dronik, he used the tools only to mince the body parts.
'But the mincing machine soon got broken and he had to use a hand saw. He also used sulphuric acid trying to dissolve the heads.'
Investigators said that there was a conflict over payments between the Savyolovs and Dronik, who rented a room in the flat.
Dronik initially denied killing his neighbours, saying he had come home and found the bodies.
Later he admitted knifing them but said he had acted in self defence after he was attacked by father Vyacheslav.
He killed the wife and boy because they were witnesses, he said.
Police said Dronik had got into an argument over rent with Vyacheslav before going out to buy acid and a fish tank to carry out the killings
But a jury found him guilty of the 2015 crime after evidence showed he had bought the aquarium and acid two days before the murders.
Sidorov said doctors had found him to be sane at the time of the slayings.
'He was not insane, he deliberately killed and dismembered these people,' he said.
Police accept that he was not a cannibal.
Dronik had been trained at the prestigious Ryazan paratroopers academy, before working as a commander of a radio brigade in Russia's missile troops.
Later he became commander of a police guards unit.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence, but the judge ordered him to serve 18 years.
A neighbour called Natalia said: 'They were a friendly family. I had never heard them quarrelling or in conflict with anyone.
'They were a great family. What was this child killed for?'
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