Woman dies after being exposed to Novichok

  • Woman dies after being exposed to Novichok

Woman dies after being exposed to Novichok

British police say a woman who was exposed to a nerve agent in southern England has died.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that authorities were "working urgently to establish the facts of this incident", adding that she was "shocked and appalled" by the death of 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess on Sunday.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu described her death as "shocking and tragic news" and said the force's thoughts are with the families of both victims.

Britain has blamed Russian Federation for the Skripal poisonings - a charge Russian Federation denies.

The Kremlin said it would be "absurd" to suggest Russian Federation was involved in the death of Sturgess. The Guardian previously reported that Sturgess and Rowley resided "barely eight miles" from the site of the Skripal poisoning.

Sturgess initially collapsed at an address in Amesbury on June 30 and was taken to the hospital, police said.

Sturgess, 44, died in the hospital Sunday evening.

"Just like before, we are deeply concerned that toxic substances continue to surface on British soil", Peskov said.

They are not showing any signs of having been exposed to the nerve agent, and are being screened as a precaution.

The couple, who were heavy drinkers and drug takers, are believed to have picked up a syringe or vial of the nerve agent dumped by the assassins sent to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Amesbury is about 12.87 km from Salisbury, the place where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by the same gas in March.

Detectives have also pieced together a detailed timeline of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley's movements prior to falling ill.

"Our focus and priority at this time is to identify and locate any container that we believe may be the source of the contamination", Basu said.

Central to the investigation is John Baker House, the supported-living accommodation where Ms Sturgess lived, Mr Rowley's home and Salisbury's Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which remains cordoned off.

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.

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said the investigation and what was happening in the Salisbury area was a British domestic issue.

"Because the nerve agents compromise nerve and muscle function, their effects are widespread and where deaths occur these are usually due to either respiratory or circulatory failure, or both", he said.

An exterior view shows Charlie's Store open as usual, in which CCTV from inside appeared to show Dawn Sturgess the day before she became seriously ill, in Salisbury, England, July 6, 2018.