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this day in history 1978

Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov stabbed and killed by an umbrella

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One of the most notorious and unbelievable moments in the history of espionage occurred on this day in 1978. Bulgarian writer and broadcaster Georgi Markov was on his way to the BBC World Service headquarters in London, when he was stabbed with an umbrella while waiting at a bus stop on Waterloo Bridge. The baffled Markov felt a stinging sensation in his leg, then noticed a man grab the brolly and walk away quickly. Four days later, Markov died of blood poisoning. A year later, the courts decided that the dissident had been ”unlawfully killed" after being injected with the deadly poison ricin via the umbrella. Many couldn’t believe the bizarre circumstances of the plot, including Markov’s wife Annabel who said, ‘I can't believe people go round stabbing other people with umbrellas.’ In 2005, a leaked Bulgarian secret service file revealed that the assassin was Francesco Giullino, a Dane recruited by the Bulgarian equivalent of there KGB to silence the outspoken writer.

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