British woman dies after Novichok poisoning

Police officer given all-clear at Salisbury Hospital after fears of nerve agent exposure

Police officer given all-clear at Salisbury Hospital after fears of nerve agent exposure

Ms Sturgess died on Sunday evening, while Mr Rowley is still being treated in hospital.

A 45-year-old man, Charlie Rowley, who also fell ill remains in a critical condition.

Her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, 45, is now on life support in Salisbury District Hospital, but is not expected to make a full recovery.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the death of 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess on Sunday shows that she and partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were exposed to a large quantity of Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Javid said, "the nerve agent that's been used in this incident is the same as the March 4 incident, but we have not, the scientists have not been able to identify or determine if it is the same batch". "Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely hard time".

They are thought to have found a vessel dumped by alleged Russian assassins in Queen Elizabeth Gardens, a park close to where Sergei Skripal, a former spy, and his daughter Yulia collapsed in March after coming into contact with the nerve agent.

The Kremlin has said that it was sorry to hear about the death of Ms Sturgess, but said that any suggestion that Russian Federation was involved would be "quite absurd". Peskov tried to turn the tables, saying Russian Federation is "deeply anxious by the continuing presence of these poisonous substances on British territory". The Skripals have since been discharged from hospital.

"Detectives are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to identify the source of the contamination, but this has not been established at this time".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is now chairing a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra.

But, they say, "it is important that the investigation is led by the evidence available and the facts alone".

However, Peskov also said he was unaware of anybody linking Moscow with this month's poisoning of a couple in Amesbury, which comes four months after Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with the same substance in nearby Salisbury.

Officers are still trying to work out how Ms. Sturgess and Mr. Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent although tests have confirmed they touched a contaminated item with their hands. The United States, European countries and Canada followed in support, expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats. "It is more of a British issue and the question is to what extent Great Britain is interested in conducting a real investigation", he noted.

Britain's public health authority acknowledged on Friday the concerns of people living in the area after the two incidents involving Novichok, but said it was confident that the risk to the public remained low.

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