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Ukrainian serial killer dies in prison

Anatoly Onoprienko, accused of being Ukraine's most notorious serial killer, listens to charges at a court in the Ukrainian town of Zhitomyr, some 130 km from Kiev March 31, 1999. REUTERS/Stringer

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s most prolific serial killer, Anatoly Onoprienko, who killed 52 people in a six-year reign of terror up to 1996, has died in jail, the state penitentiary service said on Tuesday.

Onoprienko, who killed groups of people at a time in western and central Ukraine, sometimes using a hunting rifle, shotgun or axe while trying to rob them, died in prison in the town of Zhytomir, Interfax news agency said.

The agency reported a prison service official as saying Onoprienko, who was about 54 years old, appeared to have died of a heart attack.

Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Heavens