United Kingdom mother poisoned with nerve agent Novichok dies


A 45-year-old man who was also exposed to the nerve agent Novichok remains hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

Britain blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for the attack with a military-grade chemical weapon that was developed in the Soviet Union.

Head of Britain's counter-terrorism policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, said it was "shocking and tragic news".

Police officers stand guard near barriers across Rollestone Street, outside the John Baker House Sanctuary Supported Living in Salisbury, southern England, July 8, 2018. She leaves behind her family, including three children.

Basu said Rowley was still critically ill in hospital and that Sturgess' family had asked for privacy.

Investigators say the main line of inquiry is establishing whether the incident is linked to the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

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

"Our thoughts are also with the people of Salisbury and Amesbury and the Home Secretary will make a statement shortly including on the support we will continue to provide to the local community throughout this hard time".

Professor Paul Cosford of Public Health England has said, however, that "As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any odd items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers".

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The Kremlin on Monday said it would be "absurd" to suggest Russian Federation was involved in the death of a British woman exposed to the Novichok nerve agent.

Police are investigating the death as a murder case. The spot is less than half a mile from Queen Elizabeth Gardens, where Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley may have come into contact with the poison.

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.

"Our focus and priority at this time is to identify and locate any container that we believe may be the source of the contamination", he said.

Police are continuing to work closely with public health and scientific experts to continually monitor and assess the ongoing levels of risk to the public.

A murder investigation was launched last night following the mum of three's death.

On Wednesday, the government's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down confirmed their exposure to Novichok.

Yulia Skripal said after her recovery that she was "not ready" to accept assistance from the Russian embassy, but Moscow suggested she could have been pressured into making the statement.