Date: 12 Mar 2018
Nikolay Glushkov was found strangled in the hallway of his home in Clarence Avenue, New Malden on 12 March 2018.
He had been strangled with his own dog lead. However, the evidence suggested that he had been killed with a 'garrotted sleep hold' after which his death had been made to look like a suicide.
He was a Russian and was living in the United Kingdom in exile from Russia having arrived in 2010. It was said that his murder had been made to look like a suicide. After paramedics arrived they immediately raised concerns that he had been murdered because of the way that certain items associated with his suicide had been placed.
He had been the deputy director of the Russian airline Aeroflot but had fled after he was accused of fraud. He had already served a five-year term for money laundering and fraud but fled when he was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence for fraud in 2006.
He was described as a critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It was said that bruising and fractures to his back suggested that he had been strangled from behind.
His post mortem concluded that he, 'died at the hands of a third party, due to compression of the neck, followed by the staging of a scene'. A pathology report stated that his injuries 'could be consistent with a neck-hold, applied from behind, and the assailant being behind the victim', adding, 'There is a lack of injuries to suggest prolonged grappling or restraint with the third party, and a lack of injuries of a defensive nature to the upper limbs. This would suggest the victim had been rapidly incapacitated. Garrotted sleeper holds are known to cause unconsciousness within seconds'. It was also noted that he had had a break near his right knee that suggested that he had been struck on the shin.
The police said that their findings 'indicated that the deceased had fatal pressure applied to his neck, and a staged scene was set up to simulate a case of suicidal hanging', adding that his injuries were not consistent with hanging.
At his inquest, the Coroner said, 'From all the documentation, all the evidence gathered, Nikolay Glushkov died from an unlawful killing', adding that the bruising to his neck 'was not explained by the ligature mark'.
A toxicology report stated that he had numerous sedative drugs and alcohol in his system but that they were only low therapeutic doses. A toxicologist further stated that the amount of alcohol in his system would have only caused a mild degree of intoxication. The pathologist confirmed that the drugs in his system would have caused a 'degree of sedation'.
His murder came a few days after two people were poisoned in Salisbury with Novichok, a nerve agent. One of the victims of the Salisbury poisonings was a former Russian double agent.
Nikolay Glushkov was last spoken to the previous evening but after his daughter said that she couldn't get in touch with him she went to his house with her partner at 10pm and found him lying on the floor and cold to the touch. Nikolay Glushkov had been due to attend a commercial court hearing on the day he was found dead but didn't show up.
His daughter said, 'I saw my father lying on the floor in the corridor. He was lying on his stomach. I noticed a step ladder next to his feet. He had a dog leash around his neck and red blood marks on the part of his face visible to me'. She later said, 'His watch and religious cross were on the bedside table. He only ever removed his watch and cross when he went to sleep or to take a shower'.
It was noted that his watch had stopped at 5.15.
A step ladder was found beside his body and a blue cord was placed around a handrail on the stairway nearby.
Paramedics arrived about 40 minutes after she found his body.
It was thought that he had died at least 24 hours before he was found.
A paramedic that arrived after his daughter called the emergency services and who thought that the scene looked suspicious said, 'Don't touch anything until the police come here, someone's killed him'.
The police said that there had been sightings of a black Volkswagen van around Clarence Avenue on the evening of 11 March 2018. However, neither the van or the driver were traced.
They said that during their investigation they had:
It was noted that he had been friends with Boris Berezovsky who was found hanged in his bathroom at his home in Berkshire in March 2013. It was initially thought that he had committed suicide. However, it was later suggested that he might have been strangled. Boris Berezovsky was noted as having also been a friend of Alexander Litvinenko who died from polonium-210 poisoning in November 2006.
Nikolay Glushkov had previously worked for Boris Berezovsky's LogoVaz car company in Russia before he became the first deputy general director for Aeroflot in the late 1990s.
Following his flight to the United Kingdom he was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in absentia in 2017 for allegedly defrauding Aeroflot of the equivalent of £87m and fined 1m Rubles. The case had been ongoing and continued at the time of his death.
In the United Kingdom he had had a LinkedIn page on which he had listed himself as a private consultant in financial services since 2011. The police described Nikolay Glushkov as a retired financial director.