British woman exposed to Novichok nerve agent dies | News | DW | 08.07.2018
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British woman exposed to Novichok nerve agent dies

UK police have opened a homicide investigation after a woman exposed to a nerve agent near Salisbury died. Authorities say the nerve agent was Novichok, the same type used in an attack on a former Russian spy in March.

British police on Sunday said a woman who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in Amesbury, near the southwestern city of Salisbury, had died.

London's Metropolitan Police said 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess died on Sunday in a Salisbury hospital and the case had now become a homicide investigation.

Read more: Novichok nerve agents – Russia's dangerous 'new' poison

Police said Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, who remains in critical condition in hospital, were exposed to Novichok, the same type of nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury In March.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death. 

Investigation continues

The pair was found unconscious on June 30 at a house in a quiet neighborhood of Amesbury in the county of Wiltshire, just 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Salisbury, where the Skripals were poisoned.

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Read more: Spy assassinations: The top 5 deadly poisons

Police said they suspected that the two were exposed to the nerve agent through a contaminated item left over from the first attack, which the UK has blamed Russia for.

Moscow has denied the claims. The UK's allegations resulted in tit-for-tat diplomat expulsions.

Read more: Opinion: Dealing with Russia, Theresa May finds herself alone at home

Experts at the nearby Porton Down military laboratory are so far not certain if the nerve agent came from the "same batch that the Skripals were exposed to," according to the Metropolitan Police's assistant commissioner of specialist operations, Neil Basu.

law/se (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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