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19 Dec 18 Back to Listing

Verdict of Natural Causes in the inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy

The Coroner today delivered his conclusions in the high profile inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy. Mr Perepilichnyy, a Russian national collapsed and died whilst out jogging near his Surrey home in November 2012. The inquest examined whether Mr Perepilichnyy was poisoned by Russian state agents seeking to prevent him from giving evidence in connection with an alleged $150 million fraud by Russian officials which was under investigation in Switzerland.

The Coroner found that at the time of death it was unsurprising that the death was not initially treated as suspicious because there were no signs of third party involvement. When the background of Mr Perepilichnyy came to light shortly thereafter, a lengthy and complex police investigation took place. This investigation involved what a leading toxicologist described as the “most exhaustive toxicological analysis” ever carried out. No evidence of a toxin was found in any sample taken from Mr Perepilichnyy. Theories that he had been poisoned by a gelsemium derivative were positively disproved.  

After detailed examination of the evidence the Coroner concluded that Mr Perepilichnyy died from SADS and that the appropriate verdict was therefore natural causes. The Coroner declined to make a Prevention of Future Deaths Report arising from alleged defects in the police investigation concluding that the grounds for such a report were not made out and that Surrey Police had an appropriate policy in place for dealing with such deaths.

Fiona Barton QC and Robert Cohen appeared on behalf of Surrey Police.