Beersheba man indicted for killing partner when she tried to end relationship

Vladimir Spitalnikov accused of bludgeoning Irina Gribnov to death last month after she said she wanted to leave him; is deemed fit for trial after psychiatric evaluation

Vladimir Spitalnikov on CCTV footage in his apartment after allegedly killing his wife. (Screengrab: Mako)
Vladimir Spitalnikov on CCTV footage in his apartment after allegedly killing his wife. (Screengrab: Mako)

An indictment was filed Thursday against a Beersheba man who was arrested last month for allegedly bludgeoning his partner to death with a hammer in their home.

Vladimir Spitalnikov is alleged to have murdered Irina Gribnov, 67, after she told him she wanted to end their relationship, according to Channel 12 news.

After allegedly killing Gribnov, Spitalnikov reportedly covered her body with a blanket, put a pillow under her head and went out to buy food.

The next day police were called to the apartment building after receiving reports of a man on the roof, apparently threatening to jump to his death.

After bringing Spitalnikov down from the roof, police found Gribnov’s dead body in their apartment.

Spitalnikov was arrested and remanded in police custody and underwent a psychiatric evaluation that determined he was fit to stand trial.

The scene where a woman was found dead at her home in the Kiryat Haim neighborhood in Haifa. Her partner was arrested on suspicion of murder, October 19, 2020 (Magen David Adom)

Gribnov’s body was discovered just hours after 35-year-old Najah Mansour, a mother of four, was found dead in her home in the Kiryat Haim neighborhood of Haifa with signs of violence to her body. Police arrested her partner, 28, on suspicion of murder.

Twenty women have been murdered in Israel by their spouses or significant others since the beginning of the year.

Thirteen Israeli women were murdered in 2019 by someone known to them. In 2018, 25 women were murdered in such incidents, the highest number in years. Many of those women filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.

On Wednesday, the Knesset gave an initial go-ahead to two bills aimed at providing support for victims of domestic violence, as the world marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

One bill would protect women living in shelters from losing their jobs, and the other would remove guardianship rights for fathers convicted of domestic homicide. They both passed a preliminary reading, but must still go through three more readings and committee markups before becoming law.

The parliament vote came after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation overcame coalition tensions to convene and approve the bills. The panel, which determines whether the government will back legislative measures, had been prevented from meeting by increasingly frayed ties between the Likud and Blue and White parties, which have threatened to bring down the government.

A woman lights candles in memory of women murdered in domestic violence, at a memorial on Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv, ahead of International Day of Violence Against Women, November 24, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

A national plan to fight domestic violence was approved in 2017 by the Knesset but has since been abandoned, due to lack of funding. Activists say most of the approved NIS 250 million ($71 million) has not yet been transferred to relevant authorities.

Police and social services organizations have also reported a major rise in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stuart Winer contributed to this report.

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