Novichok confirmed in Amesbury incident

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie/Charles Rowley Amesbury Incident (Facebook)

Published by Spire FM News at 10:01pm 4th July 2018. (Updated at 9:44am 5th July 2018)

Two people remain critically ill in Salisbury District Hospital after coming into contact with the nerve agent.

Its been confirmed tonight that two people who are in a critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital were exposed to novichok.

The man and woman, in their forties, named as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess. were discovered unconscious at a house in Muggleton Road in Amesbury on Saturday (30th June).

Earlier, Wiltshire Police said they believed the pair had been exposed to an unknown substance which experts at Porton Down have been testing.

Novichok is the same nerve agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury four months ago to the day on March 4th. 

The Counter Terrorism Policing Network is now leading the investigation into the Amesbury incident with 100 detectives working on the case alongside Wiltshire Police.

In a statement this evening (4th July) Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, from the Metropolitan Police, said; 

"Following the detailed analysis of these samples, we can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal.

"The latest update we have from the hospital is that both patients remain in a critical condition. Both are British nationals and are local to the area. Officers are still working to identify their next of kin.

"At this stage, no-one else has presented with the same symptoms linked to this incident."

NOVICHOK:

Detectives say they're not in the position to say whether the nerve agent was the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to and left critically ill.

The Met Police has stressed that the possibility these to investigations might be linked is a "clear line of enquiry for us."

When asked if the pair were deliberately targeted, Mr Basu said:

"That is a theory but it's speculation at the moment. We don't have any intelligence or evidence that they were targeted in any way. There is nothing in their background to suggest that at all."

Sergei Skripal Collage with hazmat, bench and his home (Ellie Harries)
Sergei Skripal was found poisoned on March 4th 

CORDONS:

More locations have been sealed off around Salisbury and Amesbury.

Detectives believe these are the locations the pair visited in the period before they fell ill.

Scotland Yard stress this is being done as a "precautionary measure."

These include:

  • Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury
  • A bin outside John Baker House, Rollestone Street, Salisbury
  • A property on Muggleton Road, Amesbury
  • Boots the Chemist, Stonehenge Walk, Amesbury
  • Amesbury Baptist Centre on Butterfield Drive, Amesbury
Amesbury Baptist Church Cordon July 2018
Cordon at the Amesbury Baptist Centre 

Public Health England has released advice on what to do if you visited any of the five cordoned off sites between 10.30pm on the 29th June and 6.30pm on the 30th June - you can read that here.

Neil Basu continued;

"I do want to reassure the public, however, that there is no evidence that either the man or woman recently visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

"Looking ahead over the coming days, people in the area can expect to see an increased police presence, which will include officers wearing protective equipment as they carry out activity at a number of sites.

"This will look similar to some of the activity that took place in Salisbury earlier this year.

Again, this is a precautionary, but necessary measure that allows officers to safely carry out meticulous and systematic searches for evidence to support the investigation.

"This must be done with great care as you will appreciate, to ensure there is no outstanding risk to both those brave officers and the public."

You can read the full statement here:

Anyone with any information or that could assist the investigation is urged to call police on 0800 789 321

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