Poison spy widow to give evidence

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The widow of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko is to give evidence at the public inquiry into his death.

Marina Litvinenko will give evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice more than eight years after her husband’s death.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, died at the University College Hospital nearly three weeks after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 while meeting two Russian men – one a former KGB officer – at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square.

His family believes he was working for MI6 at the time and was killed in November 2006 on the orders of the Kremlin.

Former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun have been identified as the prime suspects in the killing, but both deny any involvement and remain in Russia.

Mrs Litvinenko fought for the inquiry after chairman Sir Robert Owen said he could not hold a “fair and fearless” investigation as part of an inquest, and a public inquiry should take place instead.

The Government previously resisted launching an inquiry, instead saying it would “wait and see” what a judge-led inquest found, but the High Court ruled the Home Secretary should reconsider the decision.

Although Mrs Litvinenko and her lawyers will not be able to see secret material, the chairman can take it into account, unlike in an inquest.

The inquiry has already been told that the post-mortem examination on Mr Litvinenko was “one of the most dangerous ever undertaken in the western world”.

Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary said Mr Litvinenko’s radioactive body was “very hazardous” and was transferred to a secure site for tests.

During the post-mortem examination, Dr Cary and his colleagues wore two white safety suits, protective gloves taped at the sleeves and specialised hoods, into which air was piped through a filter.

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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