Story By: Elena Kalioglo, Sub Editor: Conor Sheils, Agency: Central European News
These images show a boy allegedly beaten by a woman who adopted him and hoped the abuse might leave him disabled so she could cash in on the extra child benefits.
The images were taken a week ago when the seven-year-old child, identified only by his first name Vlad, was left hospitalised and in intensive care with bruises to his face, legs and back.
The alleged abuse is said to have taken place at home in Dnipro, a city in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast region in central Ukraine.
His adoptive mother, named in local media as Natalya Kasperskaya who was reportedly born in 1979, denies that she abused him.
However, local media report she beat him black and blue, that she starved him, that she pricked him with needles – all so she could leave him mentally impaired so the state would give her more money to look after him.
While the investigation is ongoing he has been given an interim guardian, Elena Malyikhina, who has been assigned to look after little Vlad.
Elena was also the one who raised the alarm, saying that she first met little Vlad and his adoptive mother Kasperskaya several years ago during a hospital visit herself.
She told local authorities that even then he was constantly hungry, in worn clothes and with bruises, which the mother explained away.
Elena told police: “She tried to cause him epilepsy, schizophrenia, so that he would become disabled. It seems to me that she wanted to get more money for him.”
Elena also alleged to police that the suspect who has an older daughter of her own pricked him with needles.
Kasperskaya had adopted Vlad in 2014 and neighbours were quoted as backing up allegations that she treated him poorly. Last year, Kasperskaya’s mother, who has not been named, reportedly found the boy badly beaten and called an ambulance, but when later questioned she said the boy had injured himself.
Regarding the latest incident of alleged abuse, Valentina Rovna, the Head of Juvenile Affairs for the Shevchenko district in Ukraine’s capital Kiev, told police: “The boy said his adoptive mother beat him.
“The mum refutes everything. She says that she put him to bed and went to Kiev, and in the morning his grandmother came, and he was like that.”
The Juvenile Affairs Service confirmed they immediately requested the deprivation of the woman’s parental rights, which Kasperskaya is fighting.
There is still no criminal conviction for the beating and Anna Starchevskaya, spokeswoman for the national police in the Dnipropetrovsk region, told Central European News (CEN): “For our part, we have done everything possible and impossible to collect a full evidence base.”
A court decision is still pending and until that happens, Kasperskaya remains free.
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