Poi­soned woman dies

Po­lice say vic­tim must have han­dled nerve agent’s con­tainer

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - COFFEE BREAK - GREGORY KATZ

LON­DON — Bri­tish po­lice said Mon­day they be­lieve the lat­est vic­tims of poi­son­ing by a nerve agent must have han­dled the ma­te­rial’s con­tainer and been sub­jected to a “high dose” of the lethal poi­son.

Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu said the death of 44-yearold Dawn Sturgess on Sun­day shows that she and part­ner Char­lie Row­ley, 45, were ex­posed to a large quan­tity of Novi­chok, a mil­i­tary-grade nerve agent pro­duced in the Soviet Union dur­ing the Cold War.

Basu said the work­ing the­ory is that their ex­po­sure was linked to the ear­lier Novi­chok at­tack in March on ex-Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia, who have both sur­vived de­spite ex­tended hos­pi­tal­iza­tions.

Bri­tain has blamed Rus­sia for the poi­son­ings, but Moscow has strongly de­nied any in­volve­ment.

The wide in­ves­ti­ga­tion is now a homi­cide in­quiry. Basu ex­pressed sor­row for the death of Sturgess, who had three chil­dren.

“Her death has only served to strengthen the re­solve of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions team,” he said, say­ing the im­me­di­ate po­lice pri­or­ity is to find any con­tainer that may be the source of the Novi­chok.

He said no one else in the Ames­bury and Sal­is­bury re­gion where the cou­ple lived in south­west­ern Eng­land has shown any sign of Novi­chok poi­son­ing.

More than 100 po­lice are work­ing to try to search all ar­eas where Sturgess and Row­ley had been be­fore they be­came ill nine days ago. The search is fo­cused on their homes and a park in Sal­is­bury.

Row­ley re­mains in crit­i­cal con­di­tion in a Sal­is­bury hospi­tal.

Bri­tain blames the Rus­sian state for the at­tack on Sergei Skri­pal and his 33-yearold daugh­ter — an al­le­ga­tion Moscow has re­peat­edly de­nied.

A Krem­lin spokesman Mon­day ex­pressed con­do­lences over Sturgess’ death.

Dmitry Peskov told re­porters that Moscow “is deeply con­cerned” over the poi­son­ing cases in Bri­tain. Peskov added that such at­tacks pre­sent a dan­ger not only in­side the U.K., but also in Europe as a whole.

Peskov said that link­ing Rus­sia to the poi­son­ing would be “ab­surd.”

Asked whether the death could cloud the up­com­ing U.S.-Rus­sia sum­mit in Helsinki next week, Peskov replied that the poi­son­ing “has no re­la­tion” to the meet­ing. He said, “It’s Bri­tain’s prob­lem and the prob­lem of how in­ter­ested Bri­tain is in a real in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Moscow says Lon­don has de­clined its of­fers for a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the poi­son­ings.

MATT CARDY/GETTY IM­AGES

Po­lice and other emer­gency ser­vices are seen in Sal­is­bury, Eng­land, on Mon­day. Po­lice have launched a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter Dawn Sturgess, 44, died af­ter be­ing ex­posed to the nerve agent Novi­chok.

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