Amesbury Source of deadly Novichok nerve agent found in small bottle in victim’s home by police

The source of the Novichok which has killed one and seriously injured another is thought to have been found by counter terrorism detectives.

On Wednesday a small bottle was recovered during searches of Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury.

Charlie and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, were both poisoned by the nerve agent and police have been desperately trying to discover how they came into contact with the substance.

They were not thought to have been deliberately targeted.

Dawn later died in hospital on July 7.

Charlie remains in a serious, but stable condition and has briefly spoken to police from his hospital bed in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The bottle was taken to Porton Down for tests which confirmed the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok.

In a statement Scotland Yard said further scientific tests will be carried out to try and establish whether the Novichok is from the same batch that contaminated Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March – this remains a main line of enquiry for police.

Russia has always vehemently denied being behind the Skripal poisoning – believed by the UK to have been an assassination attempt on ex-spy turned double agent Sergei.

Police are trying to find out where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Charlie’s house.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing, said This is clearly a significant and positive development.

However, we cannot guarantee that there isn’t any more of the substance left and cordons will remain in place for some considerable time.

This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team.

I also appreciate there is a lot of interest in this; however, we are not in a position to disclose any further details regarding the bottle at this stage.

The safety of the public and our officers remains paramount and we are continuing to work closely with Wiltshire Police, scientists, health experts from Public Health England and other partners.

The risk to the public in Salisbury and Amesbury remains low, say Met Police.

By OLIVER MILNE

This group of nerve agents was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s and is said to be up to ten times stronger than VX.

Novichoks – meaning ‘newcomer’ in Russian – were designed as binary weapons, meaning they are comprised of two relatively harmless ingredients that only become deadly when mixed together.

This makes them easier to transport, handle and gives them a much longer shelf life than other nerve agents.

Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, the former head of Britain’s Chemical, Biological Radiation and Nuclear regiment told the Express It is designed to be undetectable for any standard chemical security testing.

Victims would only need to touch it for it to be absorbed into their bloodstreams. Read more here.

There have not been any further illnesses reported.

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with the deadly chemical weapon on March 4 this year.

The advice to the public remains the same.

On Jule 10th, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said Nobody adult or child should pick up any foreign object which could contain liquid or gel, in the interests of their own safety.

Do not pick up containers, syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects.

A statement issued by the Met Police on behalf of Dawn Sturgess’s read Dawn’s death has been devastating for us. Dawn will always be remembered by us as a gentle soul who was generous to a fault.

She would do anything for anybody and those who knew Dawn would know that she would gladly give her last penny to somebody in need.

She had the biggest of hearts and she will be dreadfully missed by both her immediate and wider family.

Our thoughts and prayers also go out to Charlie and his family and we wish Charlie a speedy recovery.

News Source MirrorNews

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