Murder probe raises stakes in nerve agent case

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid

Police said Ms Sturgess' family had been notified and were receiving support.

"It is both shocking and utterly appalling that a British citizen has died having been exposed to a Novichok nerve agent but make no mistake we are determined to find out how Dawn and her partner Charlie came into contact with such a deadly substance", Basu said.

The Metropolitan police have launched a murder investigation after Dawn Sturgess, 44, from Durrington died. Moscow has rejected the accusations and has hit back by expelling Western diplomats.

"Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely hard time".

April 12: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an global watchdog, confirms the British finding of Novichok, saying it was "of high purity".

The Russian government previously accused British intelligence officials of carrying out the Skripal poisoning as a way to stir up anti-Moscow sentiment.

A woman who was poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent in southwest England died Sunday, eight days after police believe she touched a contaminated item that has not been found. Sturgess was taken to hospital around 10.15am and Rowley several hours later, around 3.30pm.

Medical workers initially suspected a drug overdose but tests by the Porton Down military research centre showed they had been exposed to Novichok.

Peskov went on to comment on a separate statement by Russia's representative at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Vasilievich Shulgin.

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"We don't know that Russian Federation has been mentioned or associated with this", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Mr Javid, who chaired a meeting of the government's emergency committee on Monday, has said there are no plans at this stage for further sanctions against Russian Federation.

July 9: Authorities believe the Novichok is related to the Skripal poisoning but have yet to make a definitive forensic link.

Sergei Skripal is discharged from hospital on May 18.

"The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn". All three survived; officials have not said publicly whether they have any lasting impairments.

This has been identified as the same type of nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.

Wiltshire Police tweeted Monday that the vehicle was being "safely" removed and reminded the public that the risk of contamination with the agent was low.

The situation is declared a "major incident" and counter-terrorism police take the lead in the investigation. A police sergeant involved in the investigation of the March incident was also hospitalized for exposure but released shortly thereafter.

There is no evidence that Sturgess and the other victim visited any of the sites that had been decontaminated after the Skripals' poisoning, police said, adding that they could not say whether the nerve agent came from the same batch as the one the Skripals came in contact with.

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