British woman dies after exposure to Novichok nerve agent

Another suspected poisoning puts Britain on edge

Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her partner Charlie Rowley were found unconscious last week, a few kilometres from the scene of a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in March.

"This is shocking and tragic news", Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer, said in a statement.

Basu said that Sturgess leaves behind three children, and offered thoughts and prayers for the woman's family. She became ill alongside a man named locally as Charlie Rowley, 45.

"This awful 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".

There was a scare involving a police officer who was taken to hospital but he was later given the all clear.

"Detectives are working as quickly and as diligently as possible to identify the source of the contamination, but this has not been established at this time", police said on Sunday.

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Prime Minister Theresa said she was "appalled and shocked by the death", and announced that incident is now being investigated as a murder.

Dozens of detectives are working on the investigation, which is being led by the Counter Terrorism Policing Network, as well as officers from the Wiltshire Police Department. "The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy".

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he is "determined to bring the killers to justice".

But he said health authorities continued to assert the risk to the public was low.

Professor Paul Cosford said: "As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any odd items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers".

Skripal and his daughter were both released from the hospital this spring.

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Russian authorities denied any involvement.

Police said Ms Sturgess' family had been notified and were receiving support.

Police continue to investigate whether the attempted murders of the Skripals are linked to the poisoning of Sturgess and the man.

There is no evidence that Sturgess and the other victim visited any of the sites that had been decontaminated after the Skripals' poisoning, police said, adding that they could not say whether the nerve agent came from the same batch as the one the Skripals came in contact with.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, almost died of exposure to Novichok left on the front doorstep of Sergei's home in March.

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