Murder inquiry as United Kingdom woman exposed to nerve agent Novichok dies

Glen Norman
July 9, 2018

Victims Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley " I am appalled and shocked by the death of Dawn Sturgess, and my thoughts and condolences go to her family and loved ones.

"The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well", he said.

Police had been working to discover how Dawn Sturgess and a 45-year-old man had come across an item contaminated with Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet military during n the Cold War.

A British woman died on Sunday after she was poisoned by the same nerve agent that struck a former Russian spy in March and triggered a crisis in relations between Western capitals and Moscow.

The Skripal attack took place in the city of Salisbury, just a few kilometres away from the site of the Amesbury poisoning incident.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "This is shocking and tragic news".

Police say they were exposed to Novichok, the same type of nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury four months ago.

They were believed to have become exposed to Novichok by handling a container, and a link to the Salisbury attack in March is a main line of investigation.

Russian Federation denied any involvement in the Skripal incident, and suggested that British police had orchestrated it to stoke anti-Russia sentiments.

Prime Minister Theresa May said police were still hard at work investigating the source of the nerve agent.

Cops have now launched a murder investigation led by around 100 detectives.

Skripal and his daughter were both released from the hospital this spring.

Ms Sturgess's family are being given support by specialist officers and have asked for privacy.

"We are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to", they said.

Police said the investigation "into the attempted murders of the Skripals is ongoing as detectives continue to assess all the evidence available".

The latest poisonings have further inflamed tensions between London and Moscow.

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".

Public Health England said the risk to the general public "remains low".

The two Britons had been taken ill last Saturday. "The sentiment in the city is frustration, we want to get back to normal".

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