police car 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
A woman was brutally assaulted by her husband who stabbed her and set her on fire in Petah Tikva less than 24 hours after the country's top law enforcement officials gathered blocks away to discuss the struggle against domestic violence.
But in this case, neighbors claim, the police turned a blind eye to the potential for disaster; officers responded to neighbors' claims of public disturbance and their observations of Konstantin Botchkarniko drunk and wielding a hammer, but then left the scene without having entered the apartment to ensure Botchkarniko's wife's safety.
Police were called to the couple's apartment Sunday night. According to Sharon Subdistrict chief Lt.-Cmdr. Kobi Cohen, the initial complaint came from the Botchkarnikos' neighbor, who called the emergency hotline to report that Botchkarniko was drunk and had damaged her apartment door.
Only in the morning was Botchkarniko's 34-year-old wife discovered, suffering from stab wounds and severe burns.
Shortly after a Magen David Adom team took the woman to nearby Beilinson Medical Center, police conducting searches found Botchkarniko near the couple's home. According to witnesses, Botchkarniko, whose clothes were dripping with blood, was apparently still intoxicated. He allegedly resisted arrest and ran toward the Petah Tikva Municipality building, but police caught him and promptly arrested him. In the early afternoon, Botchkarniko's remand was extended by seven days in the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court.
Under questioning, Botchkarniko admitted to attacking his wife, claiming that he had done so because he believed that she was a witch. He said that he stabbed her, and when he found that she was not bleeding sufficiently, tried to break her spine, then poured a flammable substance on her and set her aflame.
Following the incident, Central District Cmdr. Nissim Mor launched an internal probe into the police response. According to Cohen, the police only decided to leave the apartment without entering because, based on the complaint, they believed that the issue at hand was a dispute between neighbors.
Cohen added that police had arrived on the scene within three minutes of the first emergency call, and that a Russian-speaking policeman had been dispatched to facilitate communication with the immigrant neighbor who had made the original call.
That neighbor, Cohen claimed, had told police that Botchkarniko had fought with his wife over the weekend, but that his wife had left the apartment and had not returned. Because of this information, Cohen said, the responding officers did not think to check the apartment to ascertain Botchkarniko's wife's safety.
The woman is currently listed in moderate condition.