Daughter of murdered Kremlin critic says death will ‘haunt’ her forever

The daughter of a murdered Kremlin critic said his death will “haunt” her forever as she recalled discovering his body in a “trashy set-up of a suicide”.

Natalia Glushkova said she cries every day and feels as though she has been “inserted into some sort of different reality” as she tries to cope a year after her father’s death.

Former Aeroflot deputy director Nikolay Glushkov was found apparently strangled in his home in New Malden, south-west London, a week after the Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

The body of the 68-year-old Russian businessman, a close friend of Vladimir Putin critic Boris Berezovsky, was discovered by his daughter on March 12 last year.

A Volkswagen black van that detectives investigating the suspected murder of Nikolay Glushkov wish to trace (Metropolitan Police/PA)
A black Volkswagen van that detectives investigating the suspected murder of Nikolay Glushkov want to trace (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Miss Glushkova, who is in her 30s, told the Guardian: “I could see some traces of physical harm done to him.

“The picture was so trashy. It looked like a cheap set-up of a suicide.

“I had never seen any sort of depression in him,” she said, adding that she believed there could be a link between her father’s death and the Salisbury poisoning.

Speaking about her ongoing trauma, she told the Press Association: “I still live with the same pictures and it’s hard. It’s hard to remember … what you’ve seen on that day, rather than him smiling.

“It’s something you can never imagine. It’s something you see in the movies.

“And you can never believe it is something that can actually be, not filmed, but rather happen in life … We all, I guess, think that it will never happen to us, and when it does it hurts a lot.

“I don’t think it’s even possible to describe all the feelings and emotions that go through your system when something like this happens.”

Mr Glushkov fled Russia after being accused of fraud during his time at Aeroflot.

After a trial in absentia he was sentenced to eight years in a Russian prison, convicted of stealing £87 million from the airline.

He was due to attend the Commercial Court in London to defend himself on Monday March 12 2018 – the day his body was discovered.

On the anniversary of his death, Miss Glushkova, who lives in London, paid tribute to her father as an “amazing human” and “a gentleman, very funny, extremely smart person”.

She said her father had not shown any signs that he was concerned about his safety and had been focused on the hearing, about which he was “very confident”.

He previously feared he had been poisoned in 2013 by mystery Russians who gave him Champagne, according to a paramedic who treated him.

Miss Glushkova said: “Apparently I have his character, and somewhere deep inside I must be a strong person, but I don’t think I’m in any way recovered.

“I can hold my tears, I can smile, I can live a life but what happens behind it, nobody will know, nobody will see, but it’s just my little world in which I emerged since last year, and it is hard to deal with it, impossible to deal with it, and I think it will haunt me my whole life, but it’s something I need to get used to now.”

Police outside the home of Nikolay Glushkov in New Malden, south west London, in March last year (Yui Mok/PA)
Police outside the home of Nikolay Glushkov in New Malden, south-west London, in March 2018 (Yui Mok/PA)

Miss Glushkova would not be drawn on who may have been responsible for her father’s death, instead referring to the “ongoing investigation”.

No arrests have been made since Scotland Yard launched a murder probe four days after the businessman’s body was found.

The force has reissued CCTV footage of a black Volkswagen van they wish to trace, which was spotted near Mr Glushkov’s home the day before he was found dead.

Miss Glushkova said it was “literally devastating” to not know what happened to her father, urging people to “care and spend time with the ones they love, as much as they can, and never think there is a tomorrow for somebody they care about”.

She added: “I think life puts its own judgment to those who deserve it.

“And I am not in power to say what should happen to who, but hope dies the last and I just want this investigation to come to some good ending, rather than just remain open for the whole time.”

Miss Glushkova also revealed that she has been in touch with the families of her father’s past business associates and friends, including relatives of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was fatally poisoned in 2006.

She said she has not returned to Russia and has no plans to do so.

“I am settled here and my life is here now,” she added.

The Metropolitan Police said officers had contacted more than 1,800 witnesses, viewed 2,200 hours of CCTV footage and collected 1,200 exhibits during their investigation.

Commander Clarke Jarrett, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, which is investigating the murder, said: “Mr Glushkov was murdered a year ago and we have made and continue to make extensive inquiries to establish the motive and identify anyone who may have been involved.

“We remain absolutely committed and determined to identify and bring those responsible for his murder to justice and I would urge anyone who may have information to contact us. Alternatively, you can contact the Crimestoppers charity, which is completely anonymous.”