Home UK Police recover 400 potentially contaminated items in Novichok poisoning investigation

Police recover 400 potentially contaminated items in Novichok poisoning investigation

16
0
SHARE

author image

Police search teams have found over 400 items as part of the investigation into the poisoning of two Brits by the nerve agent Novichok, officers have revealed.

Metropolitan Police announced a breakthrough in the case Friday when they said they had found a small bottle believed to be the source of the nerve agent that killed Dawn Sturgess and sickened Charlie Rowley.

The bottle was found at Rowleys home in Amesbury, near Salisbury, where British authorities say Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with Novichok in March.

Police recover 400 'potentially contaminated' items in Novichok poisoning investigation

Metropolitan Police announced a breakthrough in the case Friday (Picture: Reuters)

Britain blames the Russian government for the March attack, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

The case prompted Western nations including the United States and Britain to expel scores of Russian diplomats and for Russia to retaliate with similar expulsions.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Joel Goodman/LNP/REX/Shutterstock (9471836v) Tommy Robinson (centre) delivers his speech to the crowd. 1000s including supporters of alt-right groups such as Generation Identity and the Football Lads Alliance, at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park where Tommy Robinson reads a speech by Generation Identity campaigner Martin Sellner. Tommy Robinson at Speakers Corner, London, UK - 18 Mar 2018 Along with Brittany Pettibone , Sellner was due to deliver the speech last week but the pair were arrested and detained by police when they arrived in the UK , forcing them to cancel an appearance at a UKIP " Young Independence " youth event , which in turn was reportedly cancelled amid security concerns .I grew up in a town that wished we were free from Tommy Robinson

Police are trying to figure out whether the substance in the bottle – confirmed by scientists as Novichok – came from the same batch used in the attack against the Skripals.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Theyre also looking into where the bottle came from and how it got into Rowleys house.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the search process linked with both this and the Salisbury investigation has been one of the most complex and difficult that UK policing has ever faced, said Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu, Britains top counterterrorism officer.

The force said, in total, search teams recovered over 400 exhibits, samples and items linked to the investigation into the poisoning of Sturgess and Rowley.

It said a significant number of the items are potentially contaminated and have been sent to laboratories for analysis.

Police officers on duty in Rollestone Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire as the investigation into the death of Dawn Sturgess, who died after being exposed to nerve agent novichok, continues. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday July 10, 2018. See PA story POLICE Amesbury. Photo credit should read: Rod Minchin/PA Wire

Britain blames the Russian government for the March attack, an accusation the Kremlin has denied. (Picture: PA)

Police activity at the house in Muggleton Road in Amesbury, Wiltshire, where counter-terrorism officers are investigating after a couple were left in a critical condition when they were exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 6, 2018. See PA story POLICE Amesbury. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Police are trying to figure out whether the substance in the bottle – confirmed by scientists as Novichok – came from the same batch used in the attack against the Skripals. (Picture: PA)

An undated picture taken from the facebook page of Dawn Sturgess on July 9, 2018 shows Dawn Sturgess posing for a photograph in an unknown location British police launched a murder inquiry Sunday after a woman died following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok in southwest England, four months after the same type of chemical was used against a former Russian spy in an attack blamed on Moscow. Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death of Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, and offered her condolences to the family. Sturgess and a man named locally as Charlie Rowley, 45, fell ill last weekend in Amesbury, near the town of Salisbury where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with Novichok in March and have since recovered. / AFP PHOTO / FACEBOOK PAGE OF DAWN STURGESS / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / FACEBOOK PAGE OF DAWN STURGESS " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALES - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -/AFP/Getty Images

Sturgess died in a hospital on July 8 (Picture: AFP)

However searches are still expected to continue for several weeks, if not months as officers look to identify any other potential sites or sources of contamination, as well as gather further evidence to assist with their investigation.

Sturgess, 44, and Rowley, 45, fell ill on June 30.

David Attenborough launches Boaty McBoatface into the Mersey

Sturgess died in a hospital on July 8. Rowley was in critical condition for more than a week, but has regained consciousness.

Police said earlier they suspected the pair had handled a container contaminated with Novichok and had no reason to think they were targeted deliberately.

Advertisement

Advertisement

In a statement detailing the difficulties police face over the probe, Basu said each search has to be meticulously planned to ensure that traces of the deadly agent dont get leaked out.

Protective suits for each officer take 40 minutes to put on and take off, and they can only work in short bursts because of heat and exhaustion.

An undated picture taken from the facebook page of Charles Rowley on July 9, 2018 shows Charles Rowley posing for a photograph in an unknown location British police launched a murder inquiry Sunday after a woman died following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok in southwest England, four months after the same type of chemical was used against a former Russian spy in an attack blamed on Moscow. Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by the death of Dawn Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother of three, and offered her condolences to the family. Sturgess and a man named locally as Charlie Rowley, 45, fell ill last weekend in Amesbury, near the town of Salisbury where former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with Novichok in March and have since recovered. / AFP PHOTO / FACEBOOK PAGE OF CHARLES ROWLEY / - / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / FACEBOOK PAGE OF CHARLES ROWLEY " - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RESTRICTED TO SUBSCRIPTION USE - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALES - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -/AFP/Getty Images

Rowley was in critical condition for more than a week, but has regained consciousness. (Picture: AFP)

An investigator in a chemical suit removes items as they work behind screens erected in Rollestone Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, where counter-terrorism officers are investigating after a couple were left in a critical condition when they were exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 6, 2018. See PA story POLICE Amesbury. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The force said, in total, search teams recovered over 400 exhibits, samples and items linked to the investigation into the poisoning of Sturgess and Rowley. (Picture: PA)

File photo dated 05/07/18 of police at the home of Charlie Rowley, 45, in Muggleton Road in Amesbury, Wiltshire, who, along with his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, was exposed to the deadly nerve agent Novichok last month. Experts are trying to determine whether the Novichok that poisoned a couple in Wiltshire was from the same batch used in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, after the nerve agent was found in a small bottle at Mr Rowley's home. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 5, 2018. See PA story POLICE Amesbury. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Officials say Novichok, produced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, could remain active for 50 years if kept in a sealed container. (Picture: PA)

Not only are we trying to solve an extremely serious crime that has been committed, but were also working to identify any potential outstanding risks to the public; all whilst ensuring that all those involved in the search process are not themselves exposed to any risk of contamination, he said.

Teenager, 18, becomes third Brit to die at Magaluf hotel in three months

Officials say Novichok, produced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, could remain active for 50 years if kept in a sealed container

The Skripals survived and were released from a Salisbury hospital before Rowley and Sturgess were poisoned and taken there.

British authorities have taken the Skripals to a secret protected location for their safety.

Advertisement

Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here