An exiled Russian businessman and Putin critic was strangled with a dog lead by someone who then staged a suicide, an inquest has heard.
The mystery killing three years ago happened a week after Russian spies poisoned double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
Murdered Nikolai Glushkov, 68, was found by his daughter in a “staged suicide scene” at his home in south west London, the court heard.
Medics who attended the scene also reported their suspicions it was a murder because of the deliberate placing of suicide paraphernalia.
Detectives launched a fresh appeal over a mystery black vehicle seen the day before the killing as nobody has been charged.
Coroner Chinyere Inyama, recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, said: “From all the documentation, all the evidence gathered, Nikolai Glushkov died from an unlawful killing.”
Mr Glushkov’s daughter Natalia attended by video link but her statement was read out by Inyama, describing how she visited her father because he was not answering his phone.
She said: “As we entered the door I saw my father lying on the floor in the corridor leading to the kitchen on the ground floor.
“There was a two-step ladder next to his feet. He had a dog leash around his neck and red blood marks on his face.”
Natalia also said she saw her father’s phone charging on a bedside table.
A statement was also read from paramedic Dominic Biel from the London Ambulance Service, who pronounced Mr Glushkov dead.
Mr Biel described the scene as “suspicious” and added: “I saw the body of a man prone, face down in the hallway. His head was towards the open doorway to the kitchen.”
When he told Natalia and Denis Trushov, who was Mr Glushkov’s partner, that the Russian was dead, he said Denis told him: “Don’t touch anything. Don’t move him until the police get here, somebody has killed him. Get the police, get the police.”
Pathologist Mr Graham-Tyler said bruising to the neck tissue and deep bruising to the upper back was “consistent with a neck hold applied from behind, an assailant standing behind the victim as the neck hold was applied”.
He added: “There is a lack of injury of a defensive nature, this would suggest the victim has been rapidly incapacitated.”
He went on to say Mr Glushkov had been subjected to a “garroted sleeper hold” which is “known to cause unconsciousness in a matter of seconds”.
The pathologist concluded: “I have no doubt this man has died at the hands of a third party due to compression of the neck followed by staging of a high suspension hanging scene.
“The neck hold had been employed to rapidly subdue Mr Glushkov and retained until he was decreased.
“A garroted sleeper hold was employed rather than a chokehold and a significant degree of force was used for a significant degree of bruising on the neck.”
The death of the former Aeroflot director came a week after the Salisbury poisoning.
Mr Glushkov had previously been jailed for five years in his home country in 1999 after being charged with money laundering and fraud.
After being given a suspended sentence in 2006, he was granted political asylum in the UK in 2010.
The Met Police renewed an appeal for information, asking if anyone saw a black Volkswagen van near Mr Glushkov’s house the day before his death.