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UK nerve attack victim dies

12 July 2018

UK Metropolitan police have launched a murder investigation after a woman died in hospital on Sunday after being exposed to the nerve agent novichok in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

A preliminary investigation revealed Sturgess and Rowley were allegedly exposed to the military-grade nerve agent through a contaminated item that was linked to a March attack that poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.

Britain blames Russian Federation for the attack on the Skripals, an allegation Moscow has repeatedly denied. "That is something that I think the world will unite with us in actually condemning". The incident sparked a serious diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow, with a wave of cross-expulsions of diplomats, joined by UK's main Western allies.

British police said they believe Sturgess and her partner, Charlie Rowley, must have handled a container of the substance and been exposed to a "high dose".

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital after being exposed to Novichok via a contaminated item in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Sergei and Yulia almost died of exposure to Novichok left on the front doorstep of his home in March.

"Because the nerve agents compromise nerve and muscle function, their effects are widespread and where deaths occur these are usually due to either respiratory or circulatory failure, or both", he said.

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"We don't know that Russian Federation has been mentioned or associated with this", President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Sturgess was found by emergency medical workers after she collapsed at a residence in Amesbury and was subsequently taken to the hospital. Police are investigating the death of Sturgess, a mother of three children, as a homicide.

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by Sturgess's death.

Basu says more than 100 police are working to try and search all areas where Sturgess and Rowley had been before they became ill nine says ago. Mr Rowley (inset), who had the highest concentrations of the nerve agent on his hands, is seen buying cans of super-strong lager and sharing a laugh with the cashier, who takes his money and packs up the alcohol for him.

Last month The Times reported Sergei Skripal's home and a house belonging to the police officer Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury was to be bought by the British government in a £1m deal that also includes cars and other family possessions.

The decision by Basu, who heads Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, to link the two attacks on Monday increases the pressure on Russian Federation.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu described her death as "shocking and tragic news" and said the force's thoughts are with the families of both victims. While Russia made a point past 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)". "It's hard to escape the thought that everything was pre-planned and deliberately brought about to escalate the global situation and undermine Russia's authority and its ties with other parties". They say the poison could remain potent for months, particularly in a closed container.

UK nerve attack victim dies