A husband has been axed to death after an occult ritual to save his marriage went wrong.
Anton Shabanov, 33, an engineer, turned to black magic after his wife Lyubov, 29, left him less than a year after their wedding.
He enlisted the support of convicted fraudster Nikolay Ivanov, 32, for a rite that involved burying the couple’s possessions in a forest near Astrakhan, according to the Russian Investigative Committee.
As they performed the ritual, Ivanov mocked the other man and insulted his estranged wife, a court heard.
A fight ensued, and Ivanov used an axe to strike multiple blows to the groom’s head and neck, killing him, he covered the body with branches and fled the scene.
Police later detained him, and he confessed to killing Shabanov, who worked for energy giant Lukoil.
A court jailed Ivanov, from Krasnoyarsk, for nine and a half years, and he was ordered to pay £20,700 in damages.
A friend of the dead man told 360TV: ‘They had split up.
‘They did not divorce but had been living separately.
‘Naturally he was upset, but I cannot imagine he would be involved in rites to bring her back.’
‘The court established that a local resident, wishing to restore relations with his wife, decided to resort to an occult ritual.
‘To perform the ceremony, he needed to bury their personal belongings in a deserted place outside the city.’
The statement said that ‘while digging a pit (Ivanov) spoke negatively about this ceremony and the victim’s wife, as a result of which a quarrel arose between the men.
‘The conflict escalated into a fight, during which (Ivanov) struck multiple blows with an axe to the head and neck of the Astrakhan resident, and then covered the body with branches and fled the scene of the crime’????? the Russian Investigative committee said.