British woman dies after Novichok nerve agent poisoning

Leroy Wright
July 13, 2018

Police are opening a murder investigation after Dawn Sturgess died from exposure to a Russian nerve agent eight days after touching it.

London's Metropolitan Police force said the case had become a homicide investigation now that 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess had died in a hospital in Salisbury.

Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for the attack with a military-grade chemical weapon that was developed in the Soviet Union. That afternoon, Rowley fell ill at the same address in Amesbury and was also hospitalised.

Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, said: "The staff here worked tirelessly to save Dawn". May also said her "thoughts and condolences" go to Sturgess' family and loved ones.

A post-mortem will be scheduled to take place in due course.

"They are unable to say at this moment whether the nerve agent found in this incident is linked to the attack in March on Sergei and Yulia Skripal", Basu said.

"Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being treated as murder", Mrs May said.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson blamed Russian Federation for committing "an attack on British soil" over the latest poisonings, some four months after Sergei and Yulia Skripal were targeted.

"Our thoughts are also with the people of Salisbury and Amesbury and the Home Secretary will make a statement shortly including on the support we will continue to provide to the local community throughout this hard time".

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Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans. He also said the other leaders had thanked him for raising the issue of how to support NATO's operations.

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

Detectives are working to identify the source of the contamination, police said, but a source has not yet been established.

The Skripal case, which Metropolitan Police detectives are investigating as attempted murder, sparked a diplomatic crisis between Russian Federation and the West, including the expulsion of hundreds of diplomats from both sides.

Police said they would be led by the evidence but confirmed a link between the Amesbury case and the Salisbury attack was a main line of inquiry.

Salisbury MP John Glen said: 'There is always a temptation in these circumstances to look to blame the Government, or the police, or the local authority.

Police said tests showed the pair were exposed to Novichok, the same type of nerve agent used to poison the Skripals.

Public Health England insists the overall risk to the public of being poisoned by the nerve agent is low.

It is believed that Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley "handled" that container, Mr Basu said.

The couple's symptoms were the same as those of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who were poisoned in March.

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