Funds plea from poison spy widow

The widow of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko has launched an appeal for donations to help her expose her husband's murderers at the inquest into his death.

Marina Litvinenko said her legal costs for the inquest, which is set to consider claims that the Russian state was behind the former KGB spy's assassination, were likely to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.



Mr Litvinenko, 43, fell ill shortly after drinking tea during a meeting at a West End hotel with former KGB contacts and died of radioactive polonium-210 poisoning in London's University College Hospital on November 23 2006.



St Pancras coroner Dr Andrew Reid indicated on Thursday that the dissident's inquest should be wide-ranging and announced he was asking the Metropolitan Police and intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 to carry out further inquiries.



Mrs Litvinenko appealed to the public in Britain, Russia and around the world for assistance in funding her legal battle to discover what really happened to her husband.



She said in a statement: "I am prepared to do whatever it takes to find the truth about the unprecedented act of nuclear terrorism that killed Sasha (Alexander) Litvinenko and endangered the lives of thousands of my fellow Londoners.



"To judge from inquests of similar complexity, such as those into the deaths of Princess Diana and the victims of the 7/7 bombings, these hearings may last weeks, if not months.



"At the very least, my legal costs are likely to run into six figures.



"In these proceedings the evidence collected by the Metropolitan Police will be weighed against the story presented by Sasha's accused murderer and his sponsors, with the unlimited resources of the Russian state at their disposal.



"I am sure that my legal team is the best in the world, but the reality is that compared to my adversaries I am severely constrained. This I why I am appealing to the public for help."



The UK's relations with Russia soured after the murder of Mr Litvinenko, who had accused Russian security services of carrying out terror attacks to help bring Vladimir Putin to power.



British prosecutors have named fellow ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy as the main suspect in the dissident's killing, but the Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to send him to face trial in the UK.



Russian president Dmitry Medvedev insisted during Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Moscow last month that Mr Lugovoy - now a Russian MP - would never be extradited to Britain.



Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald QC said earlier this month that he had the "gravest suspicion" that Moscow was involved in planning the murder.



:: Donations to Mrs Litvinenko's legal fund can be made through the Litvinenko Justice Foundation website, http://www.litvinenko.org.uk





Source: PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower