United Kingdom woman dies after second nerve-agent poisoning

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

A British woman has died just over a week after she was exposed to a highly toxic nerve agent in the town of Amesbury.

The couple poisoned by a deadly nerve agent near Salisbury must have received "a high dose" of Novichok when they handled a vessel containing the substance, a leading police officer has said.

The officer, believed to be with Wiltshire Police, is being treated at Salisbury District Hospital, a short distance from Amesbury where Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, fell ill last Saturday.

"This is shocking and tragic news".

"This latest horrendous turn of events has only served to strengthen the resolve of our investigation team as we work to identify those responsible for this outrageous, reckless and barbaric act", Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters.

Tributes have flowed on social media, where Facebook friend Martin Bond described Sturgess as "a mother of a lovely daughter & a Good (sic) person".

Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, said: "The staff here worked tirelessly to save Dawn". "They did everything they could". Both were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Sturgess was one of five people who became seriously ill after being exposed to the nerve agent in the Salisbury area. Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Police said there is no evidence that either Sturgess or Rowley visited any of the sites where the Skripals may have been poisoned.

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The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working round the clock, he said.

"The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well", he said in a statement.

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".

"There can be no doubt what was used and there remains no alternative explanation about who was responsible - only Russian Federation has the means, motive and record", Boris Johnson, Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary, said in a statement then. "How dumb they think [Russia] is to use "again" so-called "Novichok" in the middle of the FIFA World Cup", the Russian embassy in the Netherlands tweeted last Thursday.

Ricky Rogers, the leader of the Labour group on Wiltshire council, said the death of Sturgess had "heightened tension". Tests showed they were exposed after touching the nerve agent with their hands.

"Our focus and priority at this time is to indentify and locate any container that we believe may be the source of the contamination".

Peskov's remarks were in line with repeated Kremlin denials of Russian involvement in the March poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with Novichok in the southern English city of Salisbury.

"I am appalled and shocked by the death of Dawn Sturgess, and my thoughts and condolences go to her family and loved ones", May wrote on Twitter.

Speaking of which, despite all of the emotive descriptions of Novichok as a "deadly, military grade nerve agent", it has proven to be rather unreliable. The investigation into attack on Skripal remains open.

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