HELP ME GET JUS­TICE FOR MUM, MR PUTIN

He writes heart­felt let­ter to Rus­sian leader

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Front Page - BY PA­TRICK HILL

THE son of novi­chok vic­tim Dawn Sturgess to­day begs Vladimir Putin to give up the men sus­pected of killing her.

Dawn, 44, died af­ter she han­dled poi­son dumped by two hit­men.

Her son Ewan Hope, right, has writ­ten to the Rus­sian Pres­i­dent on the eve of the an­niver­sary of the Sal­is­bury at­tack. Ewan says: “I ap­peal to you as a hu­man be­ing to al­low our of­fi­cers to ques­tion these men. The least she de­serves is jus­tice.”

GRIEV­ING Ewan Hope to­day re­veals the let­ter he has sent to Vladimir Putin plead­ing for jus­tice a year af­ter his mum died in the Sal­is­bury novi­chok at­tack.

Ewan, 20, ap­peals to Mr Putin to hand over the two sus­pected hit­men.

He says in his let­ter: “The pain never goes away for me and my fam­ily.

“Bri­tish po­lice be­lieve at least two Rus­sian cit­i­zens were re­spon­si­ble for her death but it ap­pears they are be­ing pro­tected by your state.

“I am ap­peal­ing to you as a hu­man be­ing to al­low our of­fi­cers to ques­tion these men about my mother’s mur­der. “The least she de­serves is jus­tice.” Ewan also tells the Sun­day Mir­ror of his fears that 44-year-old Dawn will never be al­lowed to rest in peace.

He ac­cuses the Gov­ern­ment of of­fer­ing no support and says his fam­ily even had to go cap in hand to a char­ity to pay for Dawn’s funeral.

She died af­ter spray­ing novi­chok – dis­guised as per­fume – on her wrist.

Alexan­der Mishkin and Ana­toliy Chep­iga, from mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence unit the GRU, are be­lieved to have dumped the scent af­ter tar­get­ing ex-Rus­sian spy Sergei Skri­pal, 68, and daugh­ter Yu­lia, 34.

CLO­SURE

The sus­pects were caught on CCTV and Ewan be­lieves only Mr Putin – who has de­nied the agents’ in­volve­ment – can bring clo­sure.

Ewan tells the Mir­ror: “Putin needs to give up these killers so my fam­ily can fi­nally get jus­tice.

“He needs to show he’s ca­pa­ble of show­ing some hu­man­ity to our fam­ily. I would ask him to imag­ine how he would feel if he was in my shoes.

“We’ve lost our mum and all we want is jus­tice. He should be able to un­der­stand that.

“I am des­per­ate. Mr Putin is the only man who can make sure jus­tice pre­vails. I need his help to do right by my mum. I am count­ing on him.”

Ewan, his brother Ai­dan, 22, and their sis­ter Grace, 12, are still reel­ing from Dawn’s death. It will be a year to­mor­row that novi­chok was smeared on the Skri­pals’ front door in Sal­is­bury, Wilts.

Sergei and Yu­lia were later found slumped on a park bench. They spent months in hos­pi­tal but sur­vived.

They re­main un­der MI5 guard at great ex­pense. And pic­tures yes­ter­day showed a Min­istry of

De­fence of­fi­cial lay­ing flow­ers on a fam­ily grave in Sal­is­bury on the Skri­pals’ be­half – be­cause it is too dan­ger­ous for them to step out in pub­lic.

Ewan says his fam­ily, mean­while, have been left to fend for them­selves. He says: “I fear we’ll never get jus­tice for Mum and I

feel be­trayed and let down by the Gov­ern­ment. I know they’ve sup­ported the Skri­pals and I’m glad be­cause I have sym­pa­thy for them and what they’ve been through.

“But my fam­ily haven’t had that support and we’re the ones who have lost our mum. She was an in­no­cent vic­tim, but we’ve never heard any­thing from Theresa May or the Gov­ern­ment – not a phone call, a let­ter, or any­thing. We haven’t even heard from our MP. We just find out things on the news the same as ev­ery­one else.

“I feel the Gov­ern­ment just wants to move on, but we can’t be­cause we haven’t got jus­tice for Mum. Un­til we do, we can’t get clo­sure.”

Dawn died last July, months af­ter the at­tack on the Skri­pals. Her part­ner Char­lie Row­ley found what he thought was per­fume and gave it to her at his flat in nearby Ames­bury. She fell crit­i­cally ill within 15 min­utes. Dawn’s funeral was at Sal­is­bury Cre­ma­to­rium but be­cause of fear of contaminat­ion no pall­bear­ers were al­lowed.

Ewan con­tin­ues: “Grace gave a eu­logy high­light­ing the things Mum did for her and Mum’s cas­ket was low­ered while Leave a Light On, by Tom Walker, was played. Af­ter­wards we had a wake at a lo­cal pub and laughed and cried to­gether. It helped.”

Dawn’s ashes are in a wicker box at Ewan’s grand­par­ents’ home, sur­rounded by pho­tos, can­dles and a white cud­dly toy she had as a child.

He adds: “I would like to scat­ter the ashes at a place I can go to and have vivid mem­o­ries of Mum and feel close to her.

“I talk to her and when­ever I make big de­ci­sions I hear her voice in my head telling me what to do.”

Ewan re­mains haunted by the CCTV im­ages of the sus­pects. Telling of the first time he saw them on the news, he says: “I was so an­gry... they looked so smug and happy with them­selves.

“But I felt a sense of re­lief as well be­cause I thought some­thing would hap­pen and that they would be caught. Now I feel like we’ve been lied to. The strange thing now is we know who killed Mum, the ev­i­dence is there and we know how it hap­pened, but we can’t get them to face jus­tice. It’s re­ally frus­trat­ing.

“I feel I have to try and move on and put it be­hind me, but at the same time I don’t want to be­cause I want jus­tice for Mum first.

“I feel like I’m never go­ing to be able to get the clo­sure I need to be able to move on and that it’s go­ing to up­set me for the rest of my life.”

Mishkin and Chep­iga, both 39, were widely ridiculed for their claim they were in Sal­is­bury as tourists. They have been charged in their ab­sence by UK coun­tert­er­ror de­tec­tives over the poi­son­ings. The Skri­pals may move to a new life in the US at UK tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense.

Pres­i­dent Putin needs to show some hu­man­ity to our fam­ily. I’m count­ing on him EWAN HOPE VIC­TIM’S SON ON HIS PLEA TO RUS­SIAN PRES­I­DENT

KILLED In­no­cent mum Dawn han­dled the poi­son. Son Ewan, in­set

POI­SON VIC­TIM Mum Dawn died at 44EX­CLU­SIVE Mir­ror cov­er­age yes­ter­day MIS­SION Chep­iga, left, and Mishkin

DE­FI­ANCE Pres­i­dent Putin de­fended agents

THE TAR­GETS Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Tu­lia HAUNTED BY THE IN­JUS­TICE Ewan Hope out­side Sal­is­bury Cathe­dral

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