- Jack Taylor/Getty Images
- British police have found the source of the nerve agent that poisoned a couple in Amesbury, England.
- Investigators found a bottle contaminated with Novichok, a deadly Russian-made poison.
- Novichok was also used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this year, and police are trying to work out if the cases are linked.
British police say they have finally found the source of the deadly nerve agent that killed a woman and left her partner fighting for his life in Amesbury, England: A bottle.
Earlier this month Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were hospitalised after falling ill in Amesbury, and investigators determined they had been exposed to Novichok, a Russian-made poison. Sturgess, 44, died in hospital on Sunday, and police have opened a murder investigation. Rowley has since regained consciousness.
The incident came months after the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, also with Novichok, prompting fears that Sturgess and Rowley had been exposed to some of the left-over poison.
The Metropolitan Police found a “small bottle” at Rowley’s house on Wednesday. Following tests, “scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok,” it announced on Friday.
The big question now is where the bottle came from: Was it from the same batch of poison that was used to target the Skripals, perhaps a discarded container? The Metropolitan Police says “this remains a main line of inquiry.”
In a statement, assistant commissioner Neil Basu warned of the possibility of further contaminated objects. “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,” he said.
“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 British government previously blamed the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal on Russia, which Russia denies.