February 18, 2019

United Kingdom woman dies after being exposed to nerve agent novichok

10 July 2018, 04:01 | Devin Moran

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley are in a critical condition in hospital

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie  Charles Rowley Amesbury Incident

British police say they believe the latest victims of poisoning by nerve agent Novichok must have handled the material's container.

A murder investigation has been launched by London's Metropolitan Police into the death of Sturgess, who is from nearby Amesbury.

Her partner, Charlie Rowley, 45, who was also exposed to the nerve agent, remains critically ill in hospital.

Rowley remains in critical condition in a Salisbury hospital.

The conflicting comments on July 9 came as more details emerged about the death of Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, in southern England a day earlier following what police say was an unexplained exposure to the nerve agent Novichok.

Counter-terror police have said their main line of inquiry is whether the two cases are linked, but Mr Williamson went a step further by pointing the finger at Moscow.

The police are working to ensure that her family have all the necessary support that they need at this extremely hard time.

A vehicle has been seized from a residential street in Swindon following the death of Dawn Sturgess, who fell ill with her partner, Charlie Rowley.

Officers are still trying to work out how the pair were exposed to the same nerve agent, although tests have confirmed that they touched a contaminated item with their hands.

"We would like to take this opportunity to pass on our sincerest thanks to all of the NHS staff involved in Dawn's care, especially the wonderful doctors and nurses at Salisbury District Hospital who we know afforded Dawn every possible chance of survival and treated her with the utmost care and dignity".

In a statement to CNN, Counter Terrorism official Neil Basu said that "This is shocking and tragic news".

Russia, which is now hosting the soccer World Cup, has denied any involvement in the March incident and suggested the British security services had carried out the attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

The container, which could be a syringe or phial containing the dose of Novichok used in the attempted assassination in March of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, is the subject of a huge and painstaking operation to try to locate the missing item.

The second nerve agent emergency in four months prompted a diplomatic row, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid accusing the Russian state of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison". "The investigation must be led by the evidence available and the facts alone".

Novichok is a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Kier Pritchard, head of the county police force in Wiltshire, acknowledged that Sturgess's death "is likely to raise the level of concern in Amesbury and Salisbury".

Sergei Skripal is discharged from hospital on May 18.

Police officers have cordoned off a number of sites in Amesbury and Salisbury that they believe the 2 individuals visited in the period before they fell ill.

"I simply can not offer any guarantees", he said, adding that public health authorities said the risk was low.

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