United Kingdom police hunt for source of Novichok

Cheryl Sanders
July 6, 2018

Britain has said the type of nerve agent used in the Skripal attack was developed by the Soviet Union and could only have been produced by a state agency.

The victims were identified as Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, both in their mid-40s, according to the report.

The two Britons, a 44-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man, fell critically ill after handling what police called a contaminated item near the site of the March attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the "working theory is now that this exposure was accidental, rather than a second attack along the lines of that on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury".

The Kremlin said Russian Federation had offered Britain its assistance in investigating the nerve agent attack and had been rebuffed.

"The eyes of the world are now on Russian Federation, not least because of the World Cup", British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Police are focusing on how that came about and are unable to say whether it was the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to.

"This is happening during a quite strong, positive, emotional wave from British fans who have come to Russian Federation to support their team during the World Cup", Zheleznyak said.

"It's not just Amesbury, but also the nearby city of Salisbury, which has had areas shut off, like this park near where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious earlier this year", said Al Jazeera's Sonia Gallego, reporting from Amesbury.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said a crime lab found the eerie link.

The Skripal poisoning resulted in a mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United Kingdom, USA and allied countries, despite the Kremlin's insistence that it did not try to poison the ex-spy.

"It is completely unacceptable for our people to be either deliberate or accidental targets, or for our streets, our parks, our towns to be dumping grounds for poison".

On Saturday, paramedics were called twice to a flat in Muggleton Road in Amesbury - first at 11:00 BST after Ms Sturgess collapsed.

Counter-terror police are now desperately hunting for the missing Novichok apparently left behind in Salisbury by the attacker who attempted to kill the Skripals.

Jenny Slade, Lauren Smart and their families decided that after this incident, as well as the previous nerve agent attack in March, they wanted to give something back to the police. They returned later in the day when the man, Charlie Rowley, also fell ill. The people affected are not officially named by police, who still believe they have fallen victim to a contaminated batch of drugs - "possibly heroin or crack cocaine".

Police initially believed that Sturgess and Rowley were having an adverse reaction to illicit drugs, but on Monday, the couple continued to display worrying symptoms, prompting the hospital to send samples away for rushed laboratory testing.

A hospital spokeswoman said Thursday they were "acutely ill" and the focus of their treatment was "stabilisation".

Other reports by iNewsToday