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British woman exposed to Novichok nerve agent dies

12 July 2018

Emergency workers in protective suits search around John Baker House Sanctuary Supported Living after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 6 in Salisbury, England.

Police opened a murder investigation after Sturgess died in hospital on Sunday at 8.26pm. "Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely hard time", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing said. He had also fallen ill and was taken to the hospital.

Now that authorities have concluded that this latest Novichok exposure likely involved the same batch, the implication is that Russian Federation is responsible for Sturgess's death.

Police have now launched a murder investigation.

Sturgess, 44, died in the hospital Sunday evening.

The decision by Basu to link the two attacks on Monday increases the pressure on Russian Federation. Mr Rowley (inset), who had the highest concentrations of the nerve agent on his hands, is seen buying cans of super-strong lager and sharing a laugh with the cashier, who takes his money and packs up the alcohol for him.

The Counter-Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working on the investigation with Witshire Police, BBC News reported.

In March, former Russian army Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned by Novichok that had been placed on Skripal's front door in Salisbury, England.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it was a priority to locate a "container" which may have been the "source of the contamination".

Basu said that detectives would need forensic evidence before definitively concluding that the Novichok used in the first attack had made the British couple ill.

He said people in Salisbury should not pick up odd items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers.

The UK government previously blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning of the Skripals in March and say the nerve agent used was a type developed by Russian Federation.

One line of inquiry suggests that after the Skripals were attacked by the nerve agent, the assailants disposed of vials, ampules or a mixing kit - or some other contaminated items - and that Rowley and Sturgess found the material and were accidentally exposed.

A van in which Mr Rowley was a passenger on the day he fell ill has been sent for testing at the government lab at Porton Down.

Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, where Sturgess and Rowley were being treated and where the Skripals were hospitalised, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that staff had "worked tirelessly to save Dawn".

'But we must not lose sight of the fact that responsibility for the fact that a military-grade nerve agent was used in Salisbury and South Wiltshire, rests with Vladimir Putin's Kremlin alone'.

British woman exposed to Novichok nerve agent dies