British woman dies after Novichok poisoning

09 July, 2018, 04:11 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Parts of Salisbury had only been reopened two months ago after the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal

British police say a woman in England has died after being exposed to Novichok, the nerve agent that also poisoned a former Russian spy and his daughter there in March.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death of Dawn Sturgess, one of two people who fell ill last weekend in Amesbury, near the town of Salisbury.

"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 in a statement.

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.

Neil Basu leads counter-terrorism efforts for the Metropolitan Police force.

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".

A spokesman said the investigators are "not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skirpals were exposed to".

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.

"Dawn's family has asked the media to kindly respect their privacy at this hard time".

More news: Wenger names England as one of World Cup favourites

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

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

She said: "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy".

The Met urged anyone who may have information that could assist with this investigation and would urge anyone to help to contact police by calling 0800 789 321.

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

The hospital's medical director, Christine Blanshard, told the BBC that hospital staff worked tirelessly to save Sturgess. A number of Western countries expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in response to the poisonings.

Yulia Skripal, Sergei's daughter, was in a coma for 20 days after she was attacked and was eventually discharged about five weeks after the poisoning.

But he said health authorities continued to assert the risk to the public was low.

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