Published: Thu, July 12, 2018

Woman dies after being exposed to Novichok

Woman dies after being exposed to Novichok

A woman who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in southern England has died, police announced Sunday.

The death of Sturgess was being investigated as a murder, police said in a statement. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of Britain's counter-terror police, said that Miss Sturgess' death is being treated as murder but admitted they still haven't found the vessel containing one of the world's deadliest poisons.

Britain's defense chief has said that a Russian "attack" led to the death of a mother of three who was exposed to the same nerve agent that put former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the hospital, while the Kremlin said it would be "absurd" to blame Moscow.

Russia, which is now hosting the soccer World Cup, has denied any involvement in the Skripal case and suggested the British security services had carried out the attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed condolences over Ms Sturgess's death but said linking Russian Federation to the poisoning would be "absurd". The Guardian previously reported that Sturgess and Rowley resided "barely eight miles" from the site of the Skripal poisoning.

Ms Sturgess, 44, from Durrington, was rushed to hospital on Saturday 30 June after becoming ill at a house in Muggleton Road in Amesbury.

Sturgess died at Salisbury District Hospital, the same facility that nursed the critically ill Skripals.

John Glen, the Conservative Party legislator for the region, said the new poisoning has threatened an economic rebound from the slowdown caused by the attack on the Skripals.

The three other men have been tested and show no signs of having been exposed to novichok.

More than 100 police officers were deployed to try to locate a small vial believed to have contained the nerve agent that sickened the two.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson blamed Russian Federation for the "Novichok death" but police said they have no evidence to connect the Salisbury poisoning in March and the Sturgess poisoning Sunday. Police say they don't think Sturgess and Rowley visited any of the locations decontaminated after the Skripals' poisoning. "We believe it is not only risky for the British, but also all other Europeans".

The decision by Basu, who heads Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, to link the two attacks on Monday increases the pressure on Russian Federation.

Public Health England said the risk to the general public "remains low".

The possibility that the two investigations might be linked is "clearly a key line of inquiry for police", according to the Metropolitan Police.

A van in which Mr Rowley was a passenger on the day he fell ill has been sent for testing at the government lab at Porton Down. This work will take time and the investigation must be allowed to proceed on the evidence and the facts alone.

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