Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

UK: Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to nerve agent Novichok

UK: Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to nerve agent Novichok

Police have launched a murder inquiry after a woman exposed to nerve agent Novichok in Wiltshire died.

Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the nerve agent around the same time and place - and he remains in critical condition and in a coma at the Salisbury hospital.

Britain has accused Russia of poisoning the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in what is the first known offensive use of such a chemical weapon on European soil since World War II.

The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working round the clock, he said.

Police say the nerve agent that sickened Rowley and Sturgess was the same type that nearly killed the Skripals, but scientists haven't been able to tell whether it was from the same batch.

The possibility that the two investigations might be linked is "clearly a key line of inquiry for police", the Met said.

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

"I am appalled and shocked by the death of Dawn Sturgess, and my thoughts and condolences go to her family and loved ones", May wrote on Twitter.

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Ms Sturgess's family are being given support by specialist officers and have asked for privacy. "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy".

British PM Theresa May has expressed outrage over the death of Dawn Sturgess.

Composite photo of 44-year-old Dawn (L) Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley.

The hospital's medical director, Christine Blanshard, told the BBC that hospital staff worked tirelessly to save Sturgess.

Confirmation from authorities Wednesday that two British citizens were exposed to Novichok shook residents around Salisbury, who thought a months-long cleanup had removed any threat from the powerful nerve agent.

The poisoning of the Skripals, both of whom spent weeks in hospital before being discharged, was blamed by the United Kingdom government on Russian Federation. A number of Western countries expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in response to the poisonings.

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

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, almost died of exposure to Novichok left on the front doorstep of Sergei's home in March.

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