Waterloo Bridge - ricin umbrella murder of Georgi Markov

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The 210Polonium murder of Alexander Litvinenko (See the Polonium-210 locations category) was not the first time that real life intelligence agency activities resulted in something even spookier than what is depicted in most fiction.

On 7th September 1978, Bulgarian dissident writer and broadcaster Georgi Markov was injected with a tiny pellet, by means of a device disguised as an umbrella, and died on 11th September 1978.

The pellet measured 1.52 mm in diameter and was composed of 90% platinum and 10% iridium. It had two holes with diameters of 0.35mm drilled through it , producing an X-shaped cavity.

The holes had been drilled by laser, not a common technique back in 1978.

Further examination by experts from Porton Down showed that the pellet contained traces of ricin toxin. Even if the doctors treating Markov had known this it would have made no difference because there was (and, as of 2007, still is) no known antidote to ricin poisoning.

Georgi Markov was waiting to catch a London Bus across Waterloo Bridge, to return to Bush House, the the BBC World Service building in the Aldwych where he worked.

This bus stop is located (since we drive on the left in the UK) on the southern side of Waterloo Bridge, by the steps down to the ugly, unfriendly brutalist architecture of the Hayward Gallery, one of the South Bank concrete "culture bunker" art galleries and theatres.The concrete ramps and steps of this complex attract skate boarders, and graffiti artists / vandals, who are harassed by the security guards and the police etc., who do little to prevent the periodic murders and muggings at night.


GPS grid coordinates:
Latitude: (WGS84) N51:30:22 ( 51.506181 )
Longitude: (WGS84) W0:06:55 ( -0.115166 )


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