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Tue Jun 20, 2017, 09:21 AM

BuzzFeed: The Man (scientist) Who Knew Too Much (Putin's murders in the UK)

The Man Who Knew Too Much

His nuclear research helped a judge determine that former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko had been assassinated – likely on Putin’s orders. Just months after the verdict, the scientist himself was found stabbed to death with two knives. Police deemed it a suicide, but US intelligence officials suspect it was murder.

When police entered the red brick house in Oxfordshire, they found the body of a stocky, bushy-haired scientist sprawled across the kitchen floor. Blood from severe wounds in his neck, arms, and stomach pooled around him. A large kitchen knife lay in his lifeless hand, and a second smaller blade was in the kitchen sink.

The murder detective who attended the scene would tell his inquest that she was shocked to witness injuries that were “so extensive”. Still, the police and coroner declared it a suicide – concluding that Dr Matthew Puncher had somehow managed to stab and slash himself repeatedly with two separate knives before succumbing to his wounds. Suicide by stabbing is rare – and cases with multiple wounds are exceedingly so. But this case was still more unusual.

Puncher, a renowned government radiation scientist, had played a key role in uncovering one of the most shocking assassinations in a century: the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a defector from the Russian security services in London. Puncher was part of a team of scientists whose research discovered a vital clue that helped a British inquiry conclude Litvinenko’s murder was likely ordered by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Police were quick to close the case on Puncher's death, determining that there were no grounds for suspicion, despite his role in that international controversy and research trips he subsequently made to Russia on behalf of the British and American governments.

Now, BuzzFeed News can reveal that Puncher is among at least 14 people US intelligence officials suspect were killed in the UK by Russian mafia groups or secret services, two forces that sometimes work together, since Putin’s rise to power. Four American intelligence officials said US spies have gathered intelligence about the scientist’s death and believe that he “was assassinated”. They said they have passed MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, information connecting Puncher’s death – and 13 others – to Russia. Yet the British police have ruled out suspicions in all those cases and shut down any further investigation.

More: https://www.buzzfeed.com/janebradley/scientist-who-helped-connect-litvinenkos-murder-to-the?utm_term=.ykMgxPeJ1#.tvg6AnX52

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