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  1. Juliet Bremner: ITV News Correspondent

Widow describes Litvinenko's relationship with Berezovsky

The widow of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko, Marina, has been describing her late husband's relationship with the Boris Berezovsky. Marina explains how Alexander Litvinenko was assigned to monitor the Russian multimillionaire after he was the target of an assassination attempt.

Court sketch of Marina Litvinenko. Credit: ITV News/ Priscilla Coleman

Following the murder of a popular head of a TV station in 1995 there were suspicions that Berezovsky might be to blame. Litvinenko arrived at Berezovsky's office and found two police officers trying to remove him. He intervened and refused to let the officers take him away.

Marina told inquiry he was "afraid he was going to be taken somewhere and anything could happen to him. They could say he had a heart attack and a then make it easier to blame Boris Berezovsky's for this crime"

After he had prevented the security services from removing him Berezovsky was very grateful: "Boris Berezovsky said many times that Sacha had saved his life and he was very grateful," Marina told the court.

The inquiry has already heard that when Litvinenko claimed asylum in the UK Mr Berezovsky helped to finance him and his family.

Open verdict follows 'contradictory' evidence

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his home in March 2013. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive

After summing up the two days of "contradictory" evidence, Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford said he could not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the businessman either took his own life or was unlawfully killed.

The body of the former Kremlin insider was discovered slumped on the bathroom floor at his ex-wife's luxury property in Ascot, Berkshire, with a ligature wound to his neck on March 23 last year.

While a report from a Home Office pathologist indicated there was "no suggestion of a violent struggle involving a third party", separate evidence from an expert on hanging and asphyxiation cases suggested Mr Berezovsky could have been strangled.

Members of the Berezovsky family declined to comment on the verdict as they left the court.


Berezovsky 'was strangled', expert suggests

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his home in March 2013. Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA Archive

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky was "strangled" by an assailant who then made it look like he had hanged himself, a professor suggested at his inquest.

Professor Bernd Brinkmann, an expert on hanging and asphyxiation cases, told the hearing that he believed two people were involved in the death of the businessman, who was discovered slumped on the bathroom floor at his ex-wife's luxury property in Ascot, Berkshire, on March 23 last year.

Giving evidence this afternoon, Professor Brinkmann told the hearing: "In my view there is no way for death by hanging [...] There exists two major, major concerns against."

Prof Brinkmann said the marks on his neck were "far away from the typical inverse 'V' shape" usually seen.

He suggested the exiled Russian could have been attacked suddenly from behind and quickly strangled, which was why there were no signs of a struggle.

'No sign of struggle' in Berezovsky death

Boris Berezovsky's injuries showed no sign of struggle with a third party, a pathologist has said. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

A pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination on Boris Berezovsky has told an inquest there was no indication that the tycoon had been strangled by anyone else.

Dr Poole said Mr Berezovsky's injuries were consistent with self-applied hanging, adding that evidence "was no suggestion of a violent struggle involving a third party".

He said that, as the businessman was not incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, he would have struggled if suddenly set upon by an assailant, even if this was from behind, and there was no evidence of this.

He added that, if he had been murdered, his body would have become a "dead weight", and therefore it would not have been possible for someone acting alone to have set up the scene in which he was found.

Berezovsky: Report 'found no poison or radiation'

A major forensic report into Russian tycoon Boris Borozevsky's death found no evidence of poisoning or radiation, an inquest has heard.

Peter Bedford referred to a 22-page report submitted by forensic scientist Raymond Fysh, which detailed tests for poisoning including radiation and found no evidence of any.

A statement read out earlier by forensic scientist Sarah Tarrant said toxicology tests found traces of various prescription medicines in Mr Berezovsky's system, although it was not possible to tell when they had been taken or in what quantity.

Ms Tarrant also said she "couldn't rule out the possibility that he had ingested morphine or possibly even heroin", though the latter could have come in the form of poppy seeds found in food and herbal teas.


Berezovsky daughter 'thought he had been poisoned'

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at his home in March 2013. Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA Archive

The daughter of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky thought he had been poisoned in the days after he lost a multibillion-pound court battle with football club owner Roman Abramovich, his inquest has heard.

Elizaveta Berezovskaya said her father told her "something strange was happening to him" and said "some chemical reaction was inside him" but they later realised he was suffering from depression.

Statements made by Ms Berezovskaya were read out to the court by Berkshire Coroner Peter Bedford, in which she claimed there were a number of people who were a threat to the former Kremlin insider.

Asked what she meant by this as she gave evidence today, Ms Berezovskaya said: "Because he was a target, always. My father was a very serious political figure."

However, the inquest also heard a first statement she gave the day after her father was found dead. In it, Ms Berezovskaya said she thought her father had killed himself and have often spoken of doing so.

Berezovsky daughter to give evidence at death inquest

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky pictured in 2011. Credit: PA

One of the daughters of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky is expected to give evidence at his inquest today.

Elizaveta Berezovskaya is due to appear as a witness on the second day of the hearing into the death of the tycoon, who was yesterday described as a "broken man" after losing a bitter multibillion-pound court battle with Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

His body was discovered slumped on the floor by his bodyguard at his ex-wife's luxury property in Ascot, Berkshire, on March 23 last year.

Unidentified fingerprint found in Berezovsky bathroom

Police said three things remained unexplained in their investigations into Boris Berezovsky's death, including an "unidentified fingerprint" in the bathroom in which his body was found.

ITV News' Romilly Weeks reports from a two-day inquest in London:

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