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Umbrella stab victim dies of mercury poisoning
Photo: DPA

Umbrella stab victim dies of mercury poisoning

Published: 11 May 2012 17:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 May 2012 17:03 GMT+02:00

Police have admitted they have been left at a loss by the attack, which took place nearly a year ago, when the 40-year-old man was attacked by the mysterious stranger in Hannover.

The case mirrors the murder of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov who was killed with a poisoned umbrella in London in 1978 at the height of the Cold War.

A post-mortem and toxicological examination being carried out on the German man are expected to point to mercury poisoning as the cause of death, Der Spiegel news magazine said on Friday.

The man was diagnosed with mercury poisoning a few weeks after the attack, and fell into a coma.

He had said he was attacked by a slim stranger who had a sticking plaster on his face.

After months in a coma, the victim had seemed to be improving, a spokeswoman for the state prosecutor said. He had been in a rehabilitation centre, but this Wednesday he suddenly died.

The prosecutor are now searching for the mysterious assailant, investigating a possible charge of grievous bodily harm resulting in death.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:22 May 11, 2012 by lucksi
They are only now searching for the assailant? Just stabbing and poisoning was in the "meh, who cares" range?
20:11 May 11, 2012 by AirForceGuy
Right out of the 'Cold War' Russian playbook...
21:40 May 11, 2012 by Frenemy
Not quite. Ricin is highly effective as a covert hypodermic "problem solver" , but mercury??!! That's just not professional...lol
22:36 May 11, 2012 by PandoraFiles
This scenario is not probable. We are injected with mercury included in vaccines, that doesn't kill us right away. It does it's work very slowly and methodically, working on the immune system.

The injection had to be thallium or ricin or a combination of one or more of the three elements.
07:14 May 12, 2012 by Frenemy
Thallium is an element, but ricin is a compound. But yeah, we ingest copious amounts of mercury with every salt-water fish we eat (our oceans are pretty much 100% contaminated).

Anyway, I agree with @PandoraFiles (something here doesn't track). Its completely ludicrous to compare the toxicity of mercury/"quick-silver" with that of ricin (apples and oranges)...
19:16 May 12, 2012 by karma1969
You medical geniuses do realize there's more than one kind of mercury, don't you? For example, the "mercury in vaccines" is a microscopic amount of inert mercury that has about as much effect on your body as inhaling a speck of couch dust, which is to say nothing at all. Something nasty like Dimethylmercury, on the other hand, can kill you from merely inhaling the fumes. Once. It's no stretch of the imagination that mercury poisoning killed this man.
18:51 May 13, 2012 by Foreignvader
"He had said he was attacked by a slim stranger who had a sticking plaster on his face." What the hell is sticking plaster and what was it doing on the guy's face?
21:13 May 13, 2012 by Simon_Kellett
> What the hell is sticking plaster and what was it doing on the guy's face?

It is a classic decoy: something incongruous, but everyday. In this case he remembers the plaster, and not more useful features like hair or eye colour or age...
22:40 May 13, 2012 by MaKo
No, seriously, *what is* a sticking plaster?
08:04 May 14, 2012 by Dave The Happy Singer
A sticking plaster, as a simple web search would tell you, is what we call a Band-Aid here in the country called Not America.
10:15 May 14, 2012 by Bill Simpson
What motive did the Russians have to kill this one? Or was it the Iranian pay back?
13:18 May 15, 2012 by wenddiver
Why not just shoot and rob him and mark it up to street crime??? Kind of scrams ex-Soviet block.
15:13 May 17, 2012 by johnny108
Without knowing which mercury compound it was- it's difficult to tell the level of sophistication of the attacker. Dimethyl mercury has killed those who were regarded as experts in it's handling. Obviously not an attack by football hooligans. And, at the time of his death- Georgi Markov had powerfull enemies. The question becomes- who WAS the victim?
23:07 May 18, 2012 by DepotCat
johnny108

"The question...who WAS the victim?"

Yes indeed...A very intriguing case.
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