Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

British woman dies after exposure to Novichok nerve agent

British woman dies after exposure to Novichok nerve agent

British police say Dawn Sturgess was staying in Salisbury before she showed signs of sickness in nearby Amesbury on June 30.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, succumbed to her injuries in a hospital in Salisbury, according to the Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom.

Sturgess had been hospitalized after falling ill on June 30 along with 45-year-old Charlie Rowley.

Mr Rowley, 45, from Amesbury, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

The Skripal attack took place in the city of Salisbury, just a few kilometres away from the site of the Amesbury poisoning incident.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of United Kingdom counterterror policing said: "This is shocking and tragic news".

"Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life", Basu said.

The March attack on the Skripals prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War as allies sided with Britain's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent.

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.

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Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by Sturgess' death.

Cops have now launched a murder investigation led by around 100 detectives.

Salisbury District Hospital treated Sturgess and Rowley.

Authorities later determined that both people had been exposed to Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent produced by the Soviet Union decades ago.

The Skripals were released from hospital but the investigation into the attack on them continues. Police say they don't think Sturgess and Rowley visited any of the locations decontaminated after the Skripals' poisoning.

A spokesman said the investigators are "not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skirpals were exposed to".

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, almost died of exposure to Novichok left on the front doorstep of Sergei's home in March.

Hospital officials said late Saturday that a number of people including a police officer had sought medical advice in the last week but had been found not to need any treatment. "The sentiment in the city is frustration, we want to get back to normal".

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