Monday, 9 July 2018

Father of woman who died after being exposed to nerve agent novichok says he is "devastated"



The father of a woman who died after being exposed to the nerve agent novichok says he is "devastated".
 
Police have launched a murder inquiry after Dawn Sturgess, 44, passed away at Salisbury District Hospital on Sunday evening.
 
 
The mother-of-three was admitted after falling ill at the home of her partner Charlie Rowley in Amesbury, near Salisbury, last Saturday.


Mr Rowley remains in a critical condition in hospital after he too was exposed to novichok.


Russia, which has been accused of targeting Sergei and Yulia Skripal with the nerve agent, said it was sorry to hear of Ms Sturgess's death.


To suggest that Russia was involved would be absurd, the Kremlin added, describing the investigation into Ms Sturgess's death as a British problem.


Charlie Rowley (L) and Dawn Sturgess
Charlie Rowley (L) and Dawn Sturgess



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."


Police said nobody else has come to hospital with the same symptoms as the couple.


Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, expressed her condolences to Ms Sturgess' family and said her staff "did everything they could".


"The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn," she said.


"Our staff are talented, dedicated and professional and I know today they will be hurting too.
"They did everything they could."


Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "appalled and shocked" by Ms Sturgess' death.


She added: "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."


Wiltshire Police constable Kier Pritchard said "today is the day we hoped would never come" as he urged those with questions to speak to officers patrolling the community.





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