October 26 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 12°C

Five-day forecast

Sensitive evidence alleged to expose poisoned Muswell Hill spy Alexander Litvinenko’s ties to MI6 will be examined in secret, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

His widow Marina has spoken of her disappointment the files - which lawyers believe may contain the key to Mr Litvinkenko’s assassination in London in November 2006 - was still being shrouded in secrecy amid claims the government planned to “suppress” evidence to protect relations with Russia.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague argued the disclosure of certain files relating to the case could pose a risk to national security.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen today told a pre-inquest review, at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, he would consider a selection of that evidence in private, giving Mr Hague’s application the “most stringent and critical examination”.

He assured interested parties he would carry out a “full, fearless and open investigation into the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death”.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square. His family believes he was working for MI6 at the time and was killed on the orders of the Kremlin.

Speaking after his ruling, Mrs Litvinenko said: “It isn’t an ideal decision for us but it could have been worse.”

She added: “I have to trust the coroner, I must trust him, I have no option. I believe he will do exactly what he says.”

The inquest was due to formally open on May 1, with former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun have been accused of his murder.

Prosecutors named Lugovoy as the main suspect in the case but Russia has refused to extradite him to the UK for questioning. Both men deny involvement.

The hearing was adjourned today ahead of a directions hearing on March 14.

The coroner gave no indication on when he would conduct the private hearing but told the pre-inquest review that he could reconvene proceedings relating to the files in public if he deemed it possible to do so.

Share this article

0 comments

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE