A teenager from Severodvinsk, northwest Russia has passed away 19 months after his skull was crushed in a fight as he tried to save his mother from being raped by a convicted murderer.
Despite his mother’s appeals to the authorities, pleading against their decision to allow a convict to live so close to children in their block, the authorities allowed 37-year-old released murderer, Roman Pronin, to live in the building.
One day, the man struck again. Breaking into 43-year-old Natalia Krapivina’s home, Roman repeatedly attacked her with a knife before trying to rape her.
Roman deflected the blow but the boy’s actions drew the assailant from his mother. Leaving Natalia on the ground, Roman turned on Vanya, snatched the dumbbell from him and pounded the boy over the head with it.
His skull crushed, Vanya collapsed. Believing the unconscious mother and son to be dead, Roman fled the bloodied apartment. The police, who arrived at the scene after being alerted by a neighbour, rushed the victims to the hospital.
While Natalia suffered 27 stab wounds, she escaped with her life intact thanks to her son. Vanya, however, suffered serious brain damage and lost almost all the frontal bone of his skull. The heroic boy also fell into a coma for nine months.
A massive fundraising campaign was launched for Vanya’s medical expenses, after doctors removed part of his brain and needed to place titanium plates to support the boy’s skull. Donations poured in and Vanya was treated by top Russian surgeon Leonid Roshal.
A year later, the boy showed “light signs of being conscious” after treatment. This June, he began to recognise his nurse and was able to eat porridge and mashed food.
Hopes for his recovery were renewed when Vanya became well enough to visit a rehabilitation centre in Moscow, one month later. Members of the public began to raise funds to send Vanya to Spain for further treatment.
In October, however, Vanya contracted the flu. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, the boy passed away last week.
Roman Pronin, who was sentenced to 14 years in jail over two attempted murder charges, now faces an additional murder charge after Vanya’s death. The authorities are also investigating how he was allowed to stay in Natalia’s building in the first place.
Natalia is also drawing flak for only visiting Vanya twice in the hospital after the ordeal they suffered. Natalia says that she was left deeply traumatised and unable to cope with what had happened after the attack.
Revealing that she blames herself, Natalia said that she turned to drinking to cope with the trauma. Seeking funds to treat Vanya before he passed away, Natalia told a television audience:
“I beg to be pardoned. And I want to ask you, please, help my son. I don’t remember what happened that day. Everybody now tells me that I am to blame for everything…I am ready to be treated. And I want to be with my son.”
She has not spoken to the press since her son’s death.