Mother starved foster son so she could claim benefits
Valery Kondaurov was skin and bones when he was first found – he has made some recovery (right) (Picture: East2West News)

A mother faces up to 10 years in prison after she starved a boy in her care so that she could claim benefits.

Lyubov Korotkova is accused of ‘extra cruelty, humiliation and torture’ in starving and drugging him for eight years and fooling doctors into thinking he had a rare disease.

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At the age of 11, her orphan foster son Valery Kondourov weighed less than two stone and was just 3ft 5ins tall – the equivalent of a five year old.

State investigators in Russia accuse Koprotkova – in her late 40s and now detained pending her criminal trial – of deliberately hatching a plan to claim bogus benefits by starving the child so that he appeared to be seriously ill.

She starved him and ‘made him take medical drugs to build up a clinical manifestation of a stomach disease,’ said a law enforcement source.

Mother starved foster son so she could claim benefits
His foster mother has been told she faces up to 10 years in prison for cruelty (Picture: REN-TV/East2West news)

‘Having cheated the doctors, she managed to register her child as handicapped….and started receiving financial assistance, compensation and other allowances.’

She stole £20,000 in state benefits but also received money from charities – which she ‘frittered on luxuries’, according to reports on the charges against her which include fraud and causing ‘deliberate health damage’ to the child.

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The case from Magadan came to light in May but after a criminal investigation Korotkova faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.

Korotkova conned local officials who saw her as heroic for helping the ‘seriously ill’ boy and, as recently as June, city mayor Yury Grishan demanded the child should be returned to her, it is claimed.

Kremlin children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova stepped in to prevent the child being returned to the foster mother.

Yet Valery had no medical condition apart from the damage caused by Korotkova, and is now recovering, it is alleged.

The woman hid her devious scheme from her own husband, Andrei, it is claimed.

She home schooled the boy so he was not seen by teachers.

The child was petrified of eating in the presence of his foster mother who fed him small quantities of porridge and fish before giving him drugs making him sick.

At 11, he still fitted the same clothes he wore at the orphanage, aged three, when she began fostering him.