Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Amesbury Novichok Victim Dawn Sturgess Has Died, Police Confirm

Couple exposed to 'unknown substance' near British town where Russian spy was poisoned Another suspected poisoning puts Britain on edge
| 09 July, 2018, 04:14

A woman has died in hospital more than a week after she was exposed to novichok in the first death from the nerve agent attack on Britain that the government has attributed to Russian Federation.

The woman, identified by police as Dawn Sturgess, 44, was exposed to Novichok last week after handling a contaminated item.

The 44-year-old was found unconscious at a residential address along with her partner Charlie Rowley, on June 30.

Specialists at the nearby military research laboratory at Porton Down, which specializes in the study of chemical weapons, identified the nerve agent used against the Skripals and Sturgess and Rowley as Novichok.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of United Kingdom counterterror policing said: "This is shocking and tragic news".

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".

"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 suspect Rowley and Sturgess handled a discarded item from the first attack, though they have not determined for certain that the two cases are linked.

United Kingdom and other Western officials have blamed Russian Federation for carrying out the attack on the Skripals - a charge that Moscow has denied.


Basu said that Sturgess leaves behind three children, and offered thoughts and prayers for the woman's family.

The prime minister said: "Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being investigated as a murder". "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy".

The death of Sturgess was being investigated as a murder, police said in a statement.

The Skripals were released from hospital but the investigation into the attack on them continues. She became ill alongside a man named locally as Charlie Rowley, 45.

Moscow hit back by expelling Western diplomats.

She said: "The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn". Sturgess was taken to hospital around 10.15am and Rowley several hours later, around 3.30pm.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a nerve agent in March.

Britain's public health authority acknowledged on Friday the concerns of people living in the area after the two incidents involving Novichok, but said it was confident that the risk to the public remained low.

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