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Sun, 29 March 2020

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Bottle of Novichok poison found in Amesbury victim's house, police announce

Bottle of Novichok poison found in Amesbury victim's house, police announce
2 min read

Police have recovered a bottle of Novichok nerve agent from the home of Charlie Rowley, one of the victims of the Amesbury poisoning.

Officers found the substance in Mr Rowley’s home in Amesbury, Wiltshire on Wednesday.

Mr Rowley is currently in a serious condition in hospital but has spoken briefly to police after regaining consciousness. His partner Dawn Sturgess died on Sunday after exposure to the nerve agent.

After tests at Porton Down confirmed that substance in the bottle is Novichock - a military grade nerve agent - an investigation is now under way to establish if it from the same batch which poisoned former spy Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March.

Britain and western allies blamed Russia for that attack and expelled scores of diplomats, athough Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement.

The discovery now means that police and intelligence agencies now have access to a large amount of the substance for analysis on how and where it was made.

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.

"This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team.

“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 safety of the public and our officers remains paramount and we are continuing to work closely with Wiltshire Police, scientists, health experts from Public Health England and other partners."

Home Secretary Sajid Javidhas called on Russian officials to give an explanation for the Sailsbury and Amesbury poisonings, accusing Russia of using Britain as a "dumping ground for poison".

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