Rape victim who took on Ukraine corruption loses her fight for life

Prime Minister vows to punish attackers of teen who was strangled, set on fire and left for dead

Moscow

The victim of a horrific sex crime that prompted a bout of national soul-searching in Ukraine died in hospital yesterday.

Oksana Makar, 18, had survived after being left for dead by three attackers who raped her, strangled her and set her body alight. The case caused fury because two of the suspects, who were relatives of local government officials, were initially released, apparently owing to lack of evidence.

Thousands of people across the country protested about the case, claiming it was indicative of official corruption and a culture of impunity for the privileged. Police eventually re-arrested the two men.

The Interior Ministry said yesterday that Ms Makar's death meant that the three suspects were now charged with murder as well as rape. The three men are being held in isolation in a pre-trial detention centre, to avoid other inmates attempting revenge attacks on them.

Ms Makar was lured to a flat in the southern shipbuilding port of Mykolaiv by two men she met in a bar on 8 March. They took her to a friend's house, where the three gave her champagne, and she passed out. When she came round and realised she had been raped, she said she would complain to the police, which is when the men allegedly decided to kill her to cover up the crime.

After strangling her and believing her to be dead, they dumped her body at an abandoned building site, doused her in petrol and set her on fire. Ms Makar was found several hours later; against all the odds, she was still alive.

Ambulance crews who picked her up the next morning found her in a horrific state, with her bones visible and more than 50 per cent of her flesh covered in third- and fourth-degree burns. Doctors had to amputate her right arm to stop gangrene from spreading, as well as her feet. Until yesterday, they had been optimistic that she would live.

Ms Makar was even able to speak from her hospital bed. In a short video made by her mother and posted online, the teenager spoke briefly of her ordeal. Evidently in pain, she said she hoped her attackers would get "f****d up" in prison, and she wanted their testicles to be chopped off and fed to dogs.

Ms Makar died early yesterday. "The level of injuries she had was too serious," said Emil Fistal, the head of the specialist burns unit where she was treated. "She was strangled, then she was burned, and then she spent 10 hours outside in the cold... All of this together created the most horrific injuries which simply could not be recovered from."

The Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, said: "Millions of Ukrainians believed that Oksana would recover, and were hoping and praying for the best. Many people tried to help, by donating blood, buying medicine and offering moral support. And everyone wants to make sure nothing similar ever happens again."

Ms Makar will be buried today in her home village of Luch, with thousands of mourners expected to attend. As an unmarried young woman, she will be buried in a wedding dress, in accordance with local tradition.

Drink and brutality: The attack

The three men accused of the crime are Maxim Prisyazhnyuk, 24, Yevgeny Krasnoshchok, 23, and Artem Pogasyan, 22. Prisyazhnyuk was adopted by a former head of the local administration for a small area near Mykolaiv – a link which may have helped him to be freed before the case caused an outcry.

Friends of the men said they had known each other for only a few days before the alleged attack. One acquaintance of Krasnoshchok said he became violent when drunk and called himself a "skinhead" who wanted to attack non-white people.

Pogasyan was described as quiet, but easily influenced when drunk.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence