British woman dies after exposure to Novichok nerve agent

British woman dies after exposure to Novichok nerve agent

A British woman has died just over a week after she was exposed to a highly toxic nerve agent in the town of Amesbury.

Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were taken ill 10 days ago after being exposed to the toxin in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Novichok is the same substance used in an attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's top anti-terrorism police officer, said the death "has only served to strengthen our resolve" to find those responsible.

The second nerve agent emergency in four months prompted a diplomatic row, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid accusing the Russian state of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison".

"We are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to", the Met said, adding that the investigation into the attempted murders of the Skripals were ongoing.

They were believed to have become exposed to Novichok by handling a container, and a link to the Salisbury attack in March is a main line of investigation.

Russia, now hosting the soccer World Cup, has denied any involvement in the March incident and suggested the British security services carried out the attack to stoke anti-Moscow hysteria.

Salisbury District Hospital treated Sturgess and Rowley.

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Sturgess leaves behind three children.

But, they say, "it is important that the investigation is led by the evidence available and the facts alone".

Composite photo of 44-year-old Dawn (L) Sturgess and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley.

She said: "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy".

Counterterrorism police are also studying roughly 1,300 hours of closed circuit television footage in hopes of finding clues about the couple's activities in the hours before they became violently ill.

British PM Theresa May has expressed outrage over the death of Dawn Sturgess. Skripal was discharged from the hospital in May and his daughter was released in April.

The hospital's medical director, Christine Blanshard, told the BBC that hospital staff worked tirelessly to save Sturgess. Still, more than 20 other countries have expelled Russian diplomats in a show of support for the UK.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in March, 2018.

Britain's public health authority acknowledged on Friday the concerns of people living in the area after the two incidents involving Novichok, but said it was confident that the risk to the public remained low.

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