Amesbury poisoning victims fell ill after handling contaminated item

Jul 06, 2018, 22:55
Amesbury poisoning victims fell ill after handling contaminated item

"We have received test results from Porton Down that show the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok", he said, according to the local Salisbury Journal.

Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, remain critically ill.

Shortly after police confirmed on Wednesday that a couple in their 40s were critically ill after being exposed to the same nerve agent that almost killed former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March, the Russian embassy in the Netherlands tweeted a forceful denial of involvement.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the "working theory is now that this exposure was accidental, rather than a second attack along the lines of that on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury".

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in either incident.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament on Thursday that it's time for Russian Federation to explain "exactly what has gone on".

"Coincidentally or not", a correspondent on state-run Rossiya 1 said, the poisoning in Amesbury took place "right before" a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit and Donald Trump's visit to Britain.

Police officers on the scene outside Harcourt Medical Centre by Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury, thought to be connected to a man and woman in Amesbury who are in hospita in critical condition.

At this point in the investigation, Sturgess and Rowley appear to have been two regular British citizens with no apparent connection to Russian Federation, the report said.

The home secretary said he was "comfortable" the "exact same nerve agent" had been used in both the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings - but added it was not yet known if they were from the same batch.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday it was deeply disturbing to see two British citizens poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent.

Skripal - a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain's MI6 foreign spy service - and his daughter were found slumped unconscious on a park bench on March 4.

Police cordoned off a home in Amesbury, believed to be Rowley's, and other places the pair visited, including a church, a pharmacy and a park in Salisbury near where the Skripals were found.

Officials said there was only a "low risk" to the wider public, but urged anyone who had visited the affected sites to wash their clothes and wipe down personal items. But he also said investigators do not believe that Sturgess and Rowley were meant to be targeted in the latest incident.

Around 100 counter-terror detectives are now working alongside police on the investigation, with officers in protective equipment and police tape once again visible on the quiet streets of Salisbury.

A hospital spokeswoman said Thursday they were "acutely ill" and the focus of their treatment was "stabilisation".

While the United Kingdom and the United States blamed Russian Federation for the attack on the Skripals, authorities have not assigned blame for the latest incident, and it's unclear if the cases are related.