Russian cyanide suicide pair had debt problems

Daria Kuchuk and Igor Pavlov with his parents Alexander and Tatiana. Picture: Comp
Daria Kuchuk and Igor Pavlov with his parents Alexander and Tatiana. Picture: Comp
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A RUSSIAN couple who killed themselves in a cyanide suicide pact in a luxury Edinburgh hotel had been battling large debts.

The revelation emerged as the first photographs of Russian pair Daria Kuchuk, 35, and Igor Pavlov, 27, surfaced.

The couple’s bodies were found together at the five-star Scotsman Hotel, North Bridge, earlier this month in an incident that sparked a city centre lockdown and chemical alert. Death certificates later showed they had died from exposure to cyanide and laughing gas.

Details from a note left by the pair have been revealed for the first time, explaining they had been swamped with financial debts linked to at least one failed business venture.

The unsuccessful business that helped push the pair over the edge was believed to have involved the sale of old films.

Ms Kuchuk, known to her friends as Dasha, was an academic high achiever from Moscow, who had also received a post-graduate degree in late antique and Byzantine studies from Oxford University.

She had shared a one-bedroom flat with her long-term boyfriend near the World’s End pub on the Royal Mile. Both had received their permanent citizenship to stay in Britain.

Photographs of the couple taken several years ago showed them with Mr Pavlov’s parents during a UK visit.

A friend of Ms Kuchuk laid the blame at the foot of her boyfriend, saying: “I feel the reason behind this tragedy relates to him. I don’t understand why she dedicated all her time to him and his business rather than finding her own way.

“It may be that she loved him so much. But I know Dasha’s mother was upset that she did not work, she only helped him [with the business].

“I remember her as a really clever girl, very good, nothing bad at all. You could say she was unearthly with her head in the clouds.”

Death certificates show the couple were pronounced dead at 1.50pm on August 1. Police have since confirmed their deaths were not suspicious. A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry press centre said the couple had not been married, but had lived together for a “considerable time”.

A spokesman said: “Both had been living in the United Kingdom for several years and both had permanent residence in the UK. British police are convinced it was suicide and we have no reason not to trust their judgement.

“It is known that a final note was left at the scene and the reason for suicide was given as follows – they failed in starting a business in UK and faced serious financial difficulties because of this. This is not a quote from the note, but just the explanation.”

Mr Pavlov’s parents Alexander, 55, and Tatiana, 56, travelled from Moscow to Scotland last week to collect their son’s ashes.