A British woman has died, days after being exposed to a nerve agent close to a city where a Russian former spy and his daughter were poisoned with the same chemical four months ago, prompting police to launch a murder investigation.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital yesterday after falling ill on June 30.
Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, who also fell ill after being exposed to the nerve agent, remains in a critical condition in hospital.
Tests have revealed that the Amesbury couple were exposed to Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War in what is the first known offensive use of such a chemical weapon on European soil since World War II.
"This is shocking and tragic news. Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time," assistant commissioner Neil Basu, head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said,
"This terrible news has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act," he said.
"Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being investigated as a murder. The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy," she said.
A postmortem will be scheduled to take place in due course.
Britain had demanded that Russia provide details about the Novichok nerve agent attack on the after its citizens were struck down with the same poison.
Britain had demanded that Russia provide details about the Novichok nerve agent attack on the Skripals after its citizens were also struck down with the same poison.
Russia, which is currently hosting the soccer World Cup, has denied any involvement in the March incident and suggested the British security services had carried out that attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.
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