UK police find 'small bottle' with Novichok nerve agent

RACHAEL VENABLES  LBC

British counter-terrorism police said on Friday they believed they had found the source of the Novichok nerve agent that killed a woman in southwest England and left her partner critically ill in hospital.

The Metropolitan Police said a bottle found at Charlie Rowley's house had been tested by scientists at the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down.

Sturgess' partner Charlie Rowley, 45, remains in a critical condition but has regained consciousness. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Dawn Sturgess, who has died as a result of Novichok poisoning, is pictured in Salisbury, Britain June 27, 2016, in this picture obtained from social media.

The incident came after former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have both since recovered, collapsed on a bench on March 4 in the nearby city of Salisbury, southwest England, sparking an worldwide diplomatic crisis after Britain blamed Russian Federation for the attack.

Authorities have yet to understand how the couple came across the contaminated bottle and how it ended up in their house. "Scientists have now confirmed to us that the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok".

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A post-mortem will take place on Tuesday before an inquest into her death opens on Thursday.

"This is clearly a significant and positive development. However, we can not guarantee that there isn't any more of the substance left", police said.

"This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team". Police said they had spoken "briefly" with him and will interview him further to establish how he and Sturgess came to be contaminated.

The search for the container was conducted by officers from Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command.

"This contact is being done in close consultation with the hospital and the doctors", the Met statement said.

Public Health England has reiterated its advice to members of the public and urged residents not to touch or pick up foreign objects.

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