On 1 November 2006 Alexander Litvinenko, ex-KGB officer and by then a British citizen, met two of his former colleagues, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, in Mayfair and drank a cup of tea with them. What happened next must count as the century’s most gruesome crime so far. The tea taken by Litvinenko was laced with a dose of polonium-210 and he died in agony in UCH several days later. The radioactive substance was detected on a belated hunch of a brilliant forensic scientist. The suspects, Lugovoi and Kovtun, had already left Britain, and the Metropolitan Police found polonium deposits at nearly every hotel and shop that they had visited.
Litvinenko’s widow Marina told the world that her husband was the victim of an assassination masterminded by none other than President Putin and his FSB.