Investigation into nerve agent poisoning widens in England

Cheryl Sanders
July 10, 2018

London's Metropolitan Police force said detectives had become a homicide investigation with 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess's death at a hospital in Salisbury.

On June 30, police found Dawn Sturgess collapsed in a house in Amesbury, England. Rowley remains critically ill. Police initially suspect the pair may have ingested contaminated drugs.

Ms Sturgess's family are being given support by specialist officers and have asked for privacy. Her partner was left in a critical condition.

"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.

"I want to emphasise to everyone in the Salisbury and Amesbury area that nobody, adult or child, should pick up any foreign object which could contain liquid or gel, in the interests of their own safety", she said.

Police say Sturgess and Rowley likely picked up a syringe or vial containing the nerve agent, CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports.

However, authorities have not yet revealed what this vessel was, why and how the two came across it, or how much Novichok was present.

On Sunday night, service personnel wearing protective gloves and breathing apparatus towed a red van away from a road in Durrington, near Amesbury.

Image: A auto is wrapped in plastic film by personnel in military fatigues.

Authorities are still investigating the incident, which has been widely speculated to be a revenge hit by Russian intelligence services or organised crime - part of a pattern of allegedly suspicious deaths of supposed traitors to the Russian state living overseas in the UK.

March 4: Sergei Skripal, a former military intelligence officer for Russia who had been living in England after being convicted of selling Russian state secrets, is found slumped on a public bench in the late afternoon in Salisbury, England, as is his daughter Yulia, just arrived via Heathrow Airport in London the previous day from Moscow. He was later discovered, arrested, and exchanged in a high-profile spy swap.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was appalled and shocked by Ms Sturgess's death, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the "desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened". There were only two options, she argued: either the Russians had conducted the attempted assassination, or the nerve agent had fallen into the hands of a third party.

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.

"We continue to be deeply anxious by the continuing presence of these poisonous substances on British territory", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked about the death of Sturgess. A police sergeant involved in the investigation of the March incident was also hospitalized for exposure but released shortly thereafter.

Ricky Rogers, a local politician, told The Guardian that people did not know what to think.

Other reports by iNewsToday