British Woman Poisoned by Nerve Agent Dies

Counter-terror chief slams 'outrageous, reckless, and barbaric act'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2018 1:49 AM CDT
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A specialist team member in a police protective suit leaves the front entrance of John Baker House for homeless people on Rollestone Street in Salisbury, England, Friday, July 6, 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
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(Newser) – The latest Novichok case in England is now a murder investigation. Dawn Sturgess, one of two people exposed to the same nerve agent that nearly killed Russian citizens Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal earlier this year, died late Sunday at the hospital in Salisbury where she had been treated since falling ill June 30, the Guardian reports. Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death of the 44-year-old. Neil Basu, chief of the UK's counter-terror police, said Sunday night that the death "has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless, and barbaric act."

Basu said Sturgess leaves behind her family, including three children, and Charlie Rowley, the "45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn, remains critically ill in hospital." Sturgess and Rowley lived 10 miles from Salisbury and fell ill after spending time in the city. BBC correspondent Frank Gardner reports that police believe they were exposed to the poison when they encountered a container left over from the attack on the Skripals, which the UK has blamed on Russia. The death of Sturgess, a British citizen, "now changes the investigation to a murder inquiry, with all the diplomatic and security ramifications that carries," he writes. Russia has rejected the accusations, claiming that the UK is blaming Moscow for the nerve agent to undermine the success of the World Cup that Russia is hosting.

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