UK: Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to nerve agent Novichok

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Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were taken to hospital last weekend from a house in the town of Amesbury, around 12 kilometres (eight miles) from Salisbury, and were found to have been exposed to Novichok.

"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".

Her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, 45, is now on life support in Salisbury District Hospital, but is not expected to make a full recovery.

Though it has not been established whether this incident is linked to the attack on the Skripals, Mr Basu said that theory was the "main line of inquiry".

British police said they believe Sturgess and her partner, Charlie Rowley, must have handled a container of the substance and been exposed to a "high dose".

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The March attack sickened Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian intelligence agent who had sold information to Britain and was living in Salisbury; his daughter, Yulia S. Skripal, who was visiting from Russia; and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey of the Wiltshire Police, who was one of the first officers to look into the case.

Addressing reporters on Monday, Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "we of course very much regret the death of the British citizen".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian Federation was "deeply concerned" about the incident in Amesbury - but said accusations that it was involved are "absurd".

The nominally retired double agent Sergei Skripal spent several weeks in a coma after being discovered on a bench in Salisbury in March; he eventually recovered enough to be released from the hospital.

Dr Christine Blanshard, from Salisbury District Hospital where Ms Sturgess was treated, described her death as "desperately sad" and sent her condolences to the family.

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It was confirmed on Wednesday both Sturgess and Rowley were exposed to Novichok. Police said there is no evidence that either Sturgess or Rowley visited any of the sites where the Skripals may have been poisoned. The United States, European countries and Canada followed in support, expelling more than 100 Russian diplomats.

While the United Kingdom and the West immediately blamed Russian Federation for the Skripal poisoning, the public has yet to be provided with any credible evidence to back up the claim.

"It's more Britain's problem and the problem of how much Britain is interested in a real investigation".

"This latest horrendous turn of events has only served to strengthen the resolve of our investigation team as we work to identify those responsible for this outrageous, reckless and barbaric act", counter-terrorism police chief Neil Basu said.

However, police and public health officials insist the risk to the wider public remains low. This has now become a murder investigation and police and security officials are working around the clock to establish the full facts of the incident.

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