NOVICHOK: Victim Dawn Sturgess dies

Dawn Sturgess

Published by Ellie Harries at 9:49pm 8th July 2018 (Updated 1:45pm 10th July 2018)

Mum of three from passed away in hospital last night (8th July) after being exposed to a nerve agent in Amesbury.

Detectives have launched a murder inquiry after a woman who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok died in Salisbury District Hospital. 

Mum of three Dawn Sturgess from Durrington passed away last night (8th July).

The 44 year old fell ill at her partner's home in Muggleton Road, Amesbury, last weekend.

Charlie Rowley remains in a critical condition.

Dawn's family has been informed and are receiving support from specially trained family liaison officers. 

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing said:

"This is shocking and tragic news. Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.

"The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well.


"This terrible news 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. 

"Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life.

"Dawn's family has asked the media to kindly respect their privacy at this difficult time."

 

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

Theresa May said:

"I am appalled and shocked by the death of Dawn Sturgess, and my thoughts and condolences go to her family and loved ones.

"Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being investigated as a murder.

"The Government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy."

On Wednesday scientists at Porton Down confirmed the pair had been exposed to Novichok, but its still not know if it's the same batch that poisoned former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury four months ago.

On Saturday, 30 June, at 10.15am - the South West Ambulance Service was called to a residential address in Amesbury, where Ms Sturgess collapsed. She was subsequently taken hospital. 

At around 15:30hrs on the same day, the ambulance service was called back to the same address after the 45-year-old man had fallen ill. 

The Met Police have now confirmed further tests of samples from Dawn and Charlie Rowley show they were exposed to the nerve agent after touching a contaminated item with their hands.

Salisbury District Hospital have released this statement:

The source of the contamination has still not been found.

On Friday police released further details about the pair's whereabouts before they were taken ill.

Detectives stress no one else has presented with the same symptoms linked to the incident.

There was a scare involving a police officer who was taken to hospital but he was later given the all clear.

Meanwhile the investigation into the attempted murders of the Skripals is ongoing as detectives continue to assess all the evidence available. 

In a statement the Met Police stress:

"The possibility that the two investigations might be linked is clearly a key line of inquiry for police.

"However, it is important that the investigation is led by the evidence available and the facts alone."

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable, Kier Pritchard, has released this statement. 

“Today is the day we hoped would never come. It is with great sadness that we have learned of the tragic death of 44 year old Dawn Sturgess, as reported by AC Neil Basu and the Prime Minister. On behalf of all officers, staff and volunteers working for Wiltshire Police I wish to pass on our condolences to the family and friends of Dawn at this terrible time. 

“I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering they must be feeling, coupled with all the questions they need answers to. 

“As confirmed by the Counter Terrorism Policing Network this evening, Dawn’s death is now being treated as murder. 

“I know this news will affect more people than just those who knew Dawn – it will affect our communities right across the county. Understandably, this is likely to raise the level of concern in Amesbury and Salisbury."

Anyone who may have information that could assist with this investigation is urged to contact police by calling 0800 789 321. 

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