Coroner: Investigation into Litvinenko death 'critical'

The Government has declined a request to a public inquiry into the death of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The decision was only made this morning.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen says "an inquiry is necessary into Mr Litvinenko's death if is to be properly investigated".

Sir Robert Owen says he does not believe a proper investigation can be conducted and that it is of critical importance. He says he has not received a full and reasoned response from government and that it is regretted that the decision was not made until this morning.

The Foreign Secretary's lawyer apologises the decision has taken so long and Mr Hague will write to the Coroner with a full explanation about why this decision was reached.

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No Litvinenko public inquiry

A public inquiry will not be held into the death of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, Coroner Sir Robert Owen said today.