A distraught father who attacked his best friend when he discovered the man had sexually abused his daughter, then six, will not be charged with murder.
Vyacheslav ‘Slava’ Matrosov, 34, was suspected of stabbing Oleg Sviridov, 32, to death in a forest near the village of Vintai in Russia after making him dig his own grave last year.
It came after Matrosov found sickening footage on his friend’s mobile phone which appeared to show his daughter being forced by Sviridov to perform a sex act on him.
Matrosov originally faced trial for murder but sources close to the case say the murder charge has been dropped in a landmark decision.
The anguished father will instead now face prosecution for inciting Sviridov to commit suicide, which carries a lesser sentence than murder.
There was an outpouring of public support for the Matrosov in the weeks following the incident, including from prominent journalists on Russia’s tightly-controlled broadcast news.
Locals from Vintai village started a petition to demand the rocket engine factory worker should be acquitted and spared jail after admitting to the killing which reached 2,500 signatures.
‘Sviridov fell asleep, and Vyacheslav took his mobile phone and decided to see what his friend was looking at,’ the petition for Matrosov read.
‘Every father would have done this [killed someone they saw abusing their child]. This will be an example to everyone.
‘Therefore, we demand understanding from the executive branch, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Investigative Committee.’
Prominent TV journalist and former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak told her followers: ‘All parents are standing up for the paedophile’s killer.’
The father had found the explicit sex abuse footage on Sviridov’s phone, filmed when the girl was six.
His daughter, now eight, was heard pleading: ‘Oleg, that’s enough, I can’t take it anymore. I want to go home’.