Introduction — July 9, 2018
We had a feeling that this might happen.
When reports of a new novichok poisoning first emerged they were met with widespread cynicism. Especially as the latest cases occurred little more than ten miles from Salisbury, the site of the first poisoning, and three miles from Porton Down, Britain’s main chemical weapons laboratory.
Instead of provoking anger toward Moscow, as had no doubt been hoped, the latest novichok poisoning raised suspicions about their close proximity to Porton Down.
If the plan had been to stir hostility toward Russia it had badly misfired and we suspected that it might be abandoned.
Hence it’s no surprise to find that over the weekend one of the victims of the latest novichok poisoning, Dawn Sturgess, died with minimal media coverage. The BBC, for example, gives greater prominence to reports of “Iranian women dancing in protest over the arrest of an Instagram teen” than Dawn Sturgess’s death.
Her partner, Charlie Rowley, remains in a critical condition in hospital. Ed.
UK woman dies after being exposed to nerve agent novichok
Patrick Greenfield — The Guardian July 8, 2018
A woman who was exposed to the nerve agent novichok in Amesbury, Wiltshire, has died in hospital.
The Metropolitan police have launched a murder investigation after Dawn Sturgess, 44, from Durrington, died on Sunday after handling an item contaminated with the nerve agent on 30 June.
Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, who was also taken ill after being exposed to the nerve agent, remains in a critical condition in hospital.
The investigation into the poisonings is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network, and about 100 detectives are working alongside officers from Wiltshire police.
Investigators are still trying to determine how the couple were exposed to the nerve agent after emergency services were called to a residential address in Amesbury eight days ago after Sturgess collapsed.
Later the same day, an ambulance was called back to the address after Rowley fell ill.
Following Sturgess’s death, assistant commissioner Neil Basu, head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said on Sunday night: “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.”