Scotland Yard finds Novichok agent in bottle in Wiltshire

Police find bottle believed to have killed Dawn Sturgess and poisoned Charlie Rowley

Dawn Sturgess, who has died as a result of Novichok poisoning, and Charles Rowley – who is no longer in a critical condition.

Dawn Sturgess, who has died as a result of Novichok poisoning, and Charles Rowley – who is no longer in a critical condition.

 

Police have found a bottle believed to have contained the Novichok that killed Dawn Sturgess and poisoned Charlie Rowley in Wiltshire, Scotland Yard have announced.

The search for the container was conducted by officers from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command. The container is believed to have poisoned the Wiltshire couple four months after a nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

Police said they found the container at Rowley’s home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

“On Wednesday 11 July, a small bottle was recovered during searches of Charlie Rowley’s house in Amesbury. It was taken to the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire, for tests.

“Following those tests, scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is novichok. Further scientific tests will be carried out to try and establish whether it is from the same batch that contaminated Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March –- this remains a main line of inquiry for police.

“Inquiries are under way to establish where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Charlie’s house,” said police.

Sturgess died on Sunday in hospital. Rowley remains in hospital where he has regained consciousness.

Neil Basu, the 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.”

Mr Basu added: “Officers from the investigation team have spoken to Charlie and will be speaking to him further to establish how he and Dawn came to be contaminated. This contact is being done in close consultation with the hospital and the doctors.

“The risk to the public in Salisbury and Amesbury remains low. We have not seen any further cases of illness linked to this incident. As a precaution Public Health England continues to advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass.” – Guardian service