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Scotland Yard opens murder inquiry over nerve agent killing

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A murder investigation was launched today following the death of a British woman after being exposed to a close to a city where a former Russian and his daughter were poisoned with the same four months ago.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died at in Wiltshire 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.

said they have launched a murder investigation - the second major probe involving the military-grade this year, following the case of and his daughter in March.

Tests have revealed that the Amesbury couple were exposed to Novichok, a developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War in what is the first known offensive use of such a on European soil since World War II.

believe the couple were inadvertently exposed to the same nerve agent used to attack Skripal and his daughter four months ago.

"This is shocking and tragic Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time," Neil Basu, policing, said,

"This terrible 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.

said she was appalled and shocked by the death of Sturgess.

"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.

The UK had demanded an explanation from Russian authorities last week over how the deadly Soviet era poison ended up poisoning former Russian and his daughter in March and then the British couple more recently.

The poisoning of the Skripals, both of whom spent weeks in hospital before being discharged, was blamed by the on

However, Russian authorities have repeatedly denied any involvement.

After the hospitalisation of Sturgess and Rowley, Javid accused the Russian state of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison".

"This desperately sad only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened," he said following the news of Sturgess' death in hospital overnight.

The hit back, accusing the government of trying to "muddy the waters" and "frighten its own citizens".

In a statement, the has said that the possibility the poisoning of the Skripals and Sturgess and Rowley are linked is a "clear line of inquiry".

Following the death, there are growing fears of a wider risk to public health in the region but stressed the risk to the general public "remains low".

said: "As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers."


"Wash your clothes in a washing machine and to keep your items double-bagged and securely fastened, if they are dry-clean only," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, July 09 2018. 16:35 IST
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