Tower Hamlets Council to pay �1million for inquest into death of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

Tower Hamlets could end up paying at least �1million for an inquest into the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Along with three other boroughs the council could end up footing a bill expected to run to into �4million for the inquest due to take place at St Pancras Coroner’s Court next month.

The inquiry is set to become more expensive than the six month long inquiry into the death of Princess Diana, which ran into millions. The only other inquest believed to have cost more was into the 7/7 bombings, which was funded by central Government and took five months to conduct costing �4.6million.

Although the Russian lived in Barnet he died at University College Hospital in Camden which falls within the jurisdiction of St Pancras Coroners Court.

The court is funded by four London boroughs including Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Camden and Islington.

The four boroughs, led by Camden, are now petitioning the Justice Minister for the inquest to be centrally funded instead.

A Tower Hamlets spokesman said: “The council, together with the three other London boroughs will be requesting that the costs that we are currently jointly liable for in relation to this case are met nationally rather than locally.”

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A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said Secretary of State, Kenneth Clarke, has received a request for central funding of the Litvinenko inquest from Dr Shirley Radcliffe, Deputy Inner North London Coroner.

Litvinenko died almost six years ago of suspected Polonium poisoning after suddenly falling ill.

A picture of Mr Litvinenko, bald and dying in his hospital bed, was flashed across the world’s media.