Man and woman critical after being exposed to 'mystery substance' identified

Cheryl Sanders
July 5, 2018

In a statement, London's Metropolitan Police said: "As you would expect, given the recent events in Salisbury, officers from the counter-terrorism network are working jointly with colleagues from Wiltshire Police regarding the incident in Amesbury".

The major incident has invited comparisons with the March 2018 poisoning of father and daughter Sergei and Yulia Skripal in nearby Salisbury.

The couple, identified by British media as Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charles Rowley, 45, were poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, the police said on Wednesday night.

However, the counter-terrorism police chief refused to say that the nerve agent "was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to", but did not rule out that these two incidents may be linked.

A "major incident" has been declared in the southern English town of Amesbury after two people may have been exposed to what authorities describe as an "unknown substance". They've also said that, unlike the Skripals, the couple was not deliberately targeted with the Soviet-era nerve agent, which acts rapidly to slow the heart and restrict airways.

Areas that were frequented by the two people before they fell ill have been cordoned off by the police as a precautionary measure.

Public Health England (PHE) said it did not believe there was a "significant health risk" to the wider public, although its advice was being continually assessed.

Emergency services were called to an address in Muggleton Road on Saturday 30 June in the evening, after a man and woman were both found unconscious in their property.

'The latest update we have from the hospital is that both patients remain in a critical condition.

Basu said police had not found any items which showed signs of contamination and officers were piecing together a "very detailed examination of their movements... to determine where they might have been exposed". Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russian Federation for the nerve agent assault against the Skripals.

It was initially thought the couple in Wiltshire had taken a bad batch of drugs.

Both victims are British nationals, Wiltshire police deputy chief Const. Paul Mills said earlier in the day.

The Skripals eventually recovered after treatment, but not before the British government lead the charge for a major diplomatic pushback against Russian Federation for orchestrating the attack-something Moscow continues to deny.

All three eventually survived, with Sergei Skripal the last to leave hospital, on May 18.

Testing is ongoing while various places the pair visited in Amesbury and Salisbury, which sits about 10 miles away, have been sealed off with police tape.

The pair, who police say are local, are in a critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital, which treated the Skripals.

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