Wed, 26 Sep 2018

Woman dies after nerve agent poisoning in Amesbury

By Sheetal Sukhija, Manchester News
10 Jul 2018, 07:31 GMT+10

LONDON, U.K. - Investigations into another case of Novichok poisoning in Britain took a different turn after one of the victims, a 44-year-old woman was pronounced dead.

Over the weekend, Britain’s counter-terrorism investigators, launched an in-depth investigation, based on information they had acquired from a recent high-profile poisoning case - to understand why a couple from Wiltshire were found with the poison traces. 

Fresh from the case that involved a former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who were both poisoned in Britain’s Salisbury this year, investigators feared a sinister plot in the case that came to light on Saturday. 

The latest victims of the poisoning were identified as Amesbury-based couple, Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, who had both collapsed at different points of time in the day and were said to be feeling unwell.

After days of tests and investigations, on Sunday, the police said that the 44-year-old mother of three had died in the evening after falling ill on June 30. 

Her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, who was also exposed to the nerve agent, meanwhile remains critically ill in hospital.

Even as several small details have emerged in the investigation, police said on Monday that the woman who died after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in Wiltshire is believed to have had a "high dose" of the substance.

Further, investigating officials were reportedly continuing to hunt for a contaminated container which they believe was handled by the pair.

Officials have also indicated that Rowley's flat in Amesbury is regarded as the key location in the search. 

Further, a team wearing hazmat suits is said to becombing the small flat, working in 30-minute shifts because of the heat.

However, following Sturgess’ death, police said that a murder inquiry had been launched a post-mortem examination had been scheduled. 

Commenting on the investigations, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head U.K. counter-terrorism policing which is leading the investigation, said he was "unable to say" if the incident in Amesbury is linked to the poisoning of the Skripals on 3 March - but it is their "main line of inquiry.”

He added, "In the four months since the Skripals and Nick Bailey were poisoned, no other people besides Dawn and Charlie have presented with symptoms, but their reaction was so severe it resulted in Dawn's death and Charlie being critically ill. This means they must have got a high dose and our hypothesis is that they must have handled a container that we are now seeking."

On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was appalled and shocked by Sturgess’s death.

Sajid Javid, the country’s interior minister said the “desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened.”

More Manchester News

Access More

Sign up for Manchester News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!