Mikhail Elinsky, a recently released killer from a psychiatric hospital, decapitated an 18-month-old girl and brandished her severed head in the streets of Astrakhan, southern Russia
Mikhail Elinsky, a recently released killer from a psychiatric hospital, decapitated an 18-month-old girl and brandished her severed head in the streets of Astrakhan, southern RussiaYouTube/Pokhvistnevo-Inform

A killer recently released from a psychiatric hospital decapitated an 18-month-old girl and brandished her severed head in the streets of a Russian city, eyewitnesses said.

Mikhail Elinsky, 42, also stabbed his niece, the dead girl's mother, resulting in serious abdominal injuries, during the attack in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan.

Disturbing footage shows him repeatedly taunting officers with a knife and refusing to give himself up. But he was eventually shot by police and later died in hospital.

Elinsky had been discharged from psychiatric institution where he was imprisoned for killing a woman six years ago.

The man's niece, Tatiana, had earlier pleaded with the authorities not to release him from psychiatric hospital, fearing he remained a danger.

She desperately tried to save her daughter Natalia but was stabbed as she came to the kitchen where Elinsky was butchering her child.

"We were about to go out, and my daughter was sitting on her tricycle," she said. "He pulled her off, grabbed her and took her to the kitchen. He closed the door and began to cut her. I tried to stop him and ran to the kitchen, but he stabbed me in the stomach with his knife."

Local reports claimed that witnesses saw Elinsky "run around the street holding up her head".

Police confirmed that they apprehended him after half an hour, and that he died later of gunshot wounds in hospital.

Complaints over noise

Eyewitness Anastasiya Miloserdova told local media the girl's mother had "begged" doctors not to let Elinsky out of the mental clinic.

She added: "And look how it ended - he ran around the area with the cut off head of the little one."

Six years ago, the knifeman had killed a female shop assistant in the same city, repeatedly stabbing her with a knife in a drunken rage.

He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sent by a judge to a high security hospital for treatment.

The man was released recently as "healthy", according to media reports.

The knifeman's mother Valentina Elinskaya said her son had complained about the noise in the family home made by the girl and her four year old brother, who was unharmed.

"So he stabbed the little girl, who is his grand niece. Her mother is his niece," she said.

She added: "His mood changed two days ago and that was it. He was walking around and thinking about something."

A local police source said: "Nobody warned us about this man. Nobody sent us any information about him. It happens in our country. There were no reports to us he was about to be released."