BORIS Berezovsky was left unguarded for five hours before he was discovered lying dead on the floor of his bathroom.
The Russian oligarch's bodyguard said that he left Mr Berezovsky alone at his Berskshire home at around 10am on Saturday to run a series of errands for his employer.
He did not return until around 3pm, when he discovered a number of missed calls on Mr Berezovsky's phone. He forced his way through the bathroom door, which was locked from the inside, and discovered Mr Berezovsky dead on the floor.
According to the bodyguard, he was fully clothed. After checking for a pulse, he called a paramedic and Mr Berezovsky was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Berezovsky's body was removed from the property yesterday morning, and police said that while his death was "unexplained" there was no evidence to suggest the involvement of a "third party". Last night police were waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination, which was conducted by a British Home Office pathologist yesterday afternoon.
Mr Berezovsky's bodyguard, who reportedly once worked for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was the oligarch's only security guard.
The Russian, who had been the target of repeated assassination attempts, had previously employed a five-strong security detail to protect him, including former members of the French Foreign Legion.
However, last year Mr Berezovsky became severely depressed after losing one of the world's biggest private legal actions against Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club.
The case left him with a £70m (e83m) legal bill and he became "extremely depressed". He was forced to sell his home in Surrey and sack his security team and chauffeur. One friend told reporters: "He thought after losing the case and all his money they wouldn't consider him worth killing."
Yuri Dubov, a writer and one of Mr Berezovsky's closest friends, arrived at the house hours after Mr Berezovsky was found dead and spoke at length to Mr Berezovsky's bodyguard.
He said that at 10.30pm on Friday night, Mr Berezovsky had given the bodyguard a series of errands for him to do the following day. It was the last time he was seen alive.
The following morning, he left the house at around 10am. Mr Dubov said: "The bodyguard was out. When he came in he saw Boris's mobile phone with a number of unanswered calls. He got worried and forced his way into the bathroom. He didn't find a suicide note. He said Mr Berezovsky was fully clothed and there was no blood."
Mr Berezovsky's former wife Galina, who owns the house and allowed him to live there, arrived while the paramedic was still there.
According to friends she saw a scarf by his body and allegedly emerged from the scene believing he may have been murdered. Mr Berezovsky's friends are also sceptical about suicide, including the widow of the murdered KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko. (© Daily Telegraph, London)