Suspects of Salisbury nerve agent attack 'identified'

Suspects of Salisbury nerve agent attack  'identified'

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 6:24am 19th July 2018. (Updated at 3:13pm 19th July 2018)

Police are understood to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in our city in March.

According to the Press Association officers believe several Russians were involved in the attempted murder or Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia  and say they are looking for more than one suspect.

"Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time," a source close to the investigation said.

They said investigators were "sure" the suspects were Russian.

SECURITY MINISTER REACTION:

The claims have been dismissed by the Government's Security Minister, Ben Wallace though.

He says the idea that police have identified the people behind the Salisbury spy poisoning are "ill informed" and belong in the "wild speculation folder”.

Scotland Yard, which is leading the investigation, declined to comment.

Maltings Salisbury Spy Decontamination April 2018
The bench in the Maltings where the Skripals were found close to death

Sky's Crime Correspondent Martin Brunt said:

"This would chime with the government's long-held belief that the Russian state was behind the attack on the Skripals, or at least had lost control of the nerve agent Novichok which scientists say is made only in Russia."

He said police had collected 5,000 hours of CCTV from the local area during the course of their enquiries.

"Those images would have been matched with CCTV taken from Heathrow Airport and any other airport within a few days of the attack," 

"That gives you an insight into the kind of meticulous and complex work that has been going on, and it may be that through that work police have come to the conclusion that they have found people who were around the Skripals' home on the 3rd or 4th of March and have been able to identify similar figures, or the same figures, getting on flights and perhaps going back to Russia."

The breakthrough comes as an inquest has opened today (19th July) for Dawn Sturgess.

She and her partner Charlie Rowley fell victim to Novichok believed to be from the same batch as that used to target the Skripals in Amesbury

Tests are still being carried out to confirm that.

Mum of three Dawn died earlier this month - eight days after being exposed to 10 times the amount of nerve agent the former spy and his daughter came into contact with.

Investigators believe the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle that the couple found.

It's thought Dawn sprayed the substance directly onto her skin.

Muggleton Road Major Incident In Amesbury July 2018
It's believed Dawn and Charlie were poisoned by the nerve agent while at Charlie's house in Muggleton Road, Amesbury

Mr Rowley, 45, survived the incident and is still being treated in Salisbury District Hospital.

More than 400 exhibits, samples and items have been recovered by police investigating the poisoning of Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess.

The government has continued to make clear it believes the Russian state was behind the attack on the Skripals.

Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian politicians have continued to deny any involvement in the poisonings.

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