The poisoned teaplot: Polonium reading from hotel 'off the scale'
Radioactive teapot 'almost certainly used to kill Alexander Litvinenko was used to serve guests for several weeks after becoming contaminated'
By Andrew Johnson
Published: 28 January 2007
Detectives investigating one of the murkiest international crimes ever to hit Britain - the murder of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko - believe a quintessentially English teapot is at the centre of the web of intrigue.
Test results from the Millennium Hotel in Piccadilly, central London, were said by sources yesterday to show a teapot was "off the scale" in readings for polonium 210, the radioactive isotope used to poison the Russian exile at the hotel on 1 November.
Police yesterday refused to comment on the reports, which also said the teapot was not tested until the second week of December, six weeks after the poisoning. The still-radioactive teapot would have been used to serve potentially hundreds of other guests.
Mr Litvinenko's widow, Marina, confirmed that when her husband arrived at the hotel his tea was already poured. "He later said the tea wasn't very tasty, 'because it was cold'." It now appears that tea had been poured from a pot thatthe killer had managed to contaminate.