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A Russian court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for sexually attacking and then strangling to death 15 women and a teenager.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement on January 30 that Vladimir Mirgorod, 32, was found guilty of carrying out the series of murders after raping or sexually assaulting his victims between 2002 and 2004 in Moscow and deserted areas around the capital.

The killer evaded arrest for several years because he was serving a separate jail sentence.

The statement says that when Mirgorod was released in 2010, having served his sentence for robbery and rape, investigators checked his fingerprints and found that they were identical to those left at four crime scenes before he went to jail.

Compiled from agency reports