Russian father who was suspected of stabbing paedophile friend to death after discovering he had raped his daughter, six, will NOT be charged with murder
- Vyacheslav Matrosov, 34, attacked his former friend Oleg Sviridov, 32, last year
- Matrosov attacked Sviridov after learning he had sexually abused his daughter
- Matrosov killed the paedophile after seeing graphic evidence on friend's phone
- The former rocket factory engineer will not be convicted for Sviridov's murder
- But he now faces prosecution for inciting Sviridov to commit suicide
- Sviridov's body was found in a shallow grave he appeared to have dug himself
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'.
Matrosov, a former rocket engine factory worker, always denied murder and is now 'pleased' that he will not face a charge of deliberately killing Sviridov.
He is also no longer required to wear an electronic tag as he awaits trial this year.
He will face prosecution for 'inciting a person to suicide or attempted suicide by threats or abuse', which carries a maximum six year sentence - but often also leads to non-custodial punishments.
Source close to the case said that detailed forensic evidence showed that Matrosov had not stabbed Sviridov in a forest where the dead man's body was found later in a makeshift grave.
There are claims Sviridov was given an ultimatum to go to the police and confess to sexually abusing the girl, or face the father's wrath.
A relative said Sviridov was seen badly beaten on the day in September he disappeared, more than a week before his body was found in the makeshift grave near Vintai village.
Two other children in the village are feared to have been abused by Sviridov.
Matrosov said he initially reported the rapes to local police who then launched a manhunt for Sviridov, but the father claimed he managed to track down the alleged child abuser before the cops.
He did not deny killing Sviridov, but alleged the paedophile 'stumbled on the knife during a quarrel' and maintained his death was not intentional.
Police sources said that the deceased man's phone contained sickening videos which showed violent rapes of other village girls, aged six and 11.
The videos indicated that the suspect had been abusing children for five years before Matrosov discovered the footage on his phone.
It has also been reported that one of his alleged victims was the daughter of his former partner.
'The woman had a daughter from her first marriage,' a friend told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.
'Now it has turned out he was abusing the child.'
Sviridov's ex did not know anything about the alleged abuse, said the woman friend who had known Sviridov for more than 15 years.
'She is a very good caring mother,' she said. 'I can imagine what she feels like now the truth has come out...
'He was constantly seen with the girls, the daughter of his partner and Vyacheslav's older daughter, in the village. It never crossed anyone's mind what he was doing with children.'
Sviridov's mother said that her son had often been a babysitter for Vyacheslav's children and the two men had been long-time friends.
'I don't know how it got to this,' she said, referring to the rape of Vyacheslav's daughter.
'He must have been drunk. Most likely he was drunk. They left their children with him all the time.
'When he baby-sat these girls he came back home as normal, in a good mood.'
Villager Tatiana Zubova, said: 'I know him personally, he is a good father and husband.'
Lawyer Vera Podkolzina said proving Sviridov's guilt from video evidence was critical to a lenient sentence for Matrosov.
'It is difficult to say what punishment the father of the girl may face, but he has very powerful mitigating circumstances,' she said.
MP Oksana Pushkina called for harsher legal sanctions to deter child sex abuse.
'We need tough legislative measures against paedophiles,' she said.