Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

United Kingdom woman dies after exposure to Soviet-era nerve agent

Sajid Javid with Cara Charles Barks Sajid Javid with Cara Charles Barks CEO of the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Ellis Copeland | 10 July, 2018, 19:44

British police yesterday said they could not rule out further contamination after a 44-year-old mother of three died in southwest England following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok.

Her family has been informed and is receiving support from specially trained family liaison officers, the Met said, adding that a post-mortem is scheduled to take place in "due course".

Despite being rushed to intensive care, Sturgess died on Sunday evening, and police have now launched a murder inquiry.

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.

March 26: European Union countries and others including Canada show solidarity with the U.K.by expelling Russian diplomats.

After Sturgess' death on Sunday, Britain's interior minister, Sajid Javid, said the "desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened". "Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely hard time", Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing said.

The Russian government previously accused British intelligence officials of carrying out the Skripal poisoning as a way to stir up anti-Moscow sentiment. She was originally admitted to hospital on Saturday, June 30, after falling-ill in Amesbury, 30 miles from Swindon.

Medical workers initially suspected a drug overdose but tests by the Porton Down military research centre showed they had been exposed to Novichok. Britain has notified the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

On Monday, however, Peskov said the Wiltshire poisoning had "nothing to do with the summit" between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Finland.

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Mr Javid, who chaired a meeting of the government's emergency committee on Monday, has said there are no plans at this stage for further sanctions against Russian Federation.

Sergei Skripal is discharged from hospital on May 18.

A representative from Salisbury district hospital said staff "worked tirelessly to save Dawn".

"We don't actually know which one it is and we know very little about them", says Andrea Sella, a synthetic inorganic chemist at University College London.

In a statement, Bristol Dry Gin said: "Novichok Edition has been in development for some time, and was only named and released after the Skripals had recovered".

A distillery has apologised after developing a 75% proof vodka named after the toxic nerve agent Novichok.

While Russia made a point previous year of destroying its last remaining stockpiles of publicly declared chemical weapons, Reuters noted that it is "not believed to have ever declared Novichok or its ingredients to the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)".

The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working round the clock, he said.

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