Murder inquiry starts after British woman exposed to Novichok dies

Police in Britain said they have launched a murder inquiry after the 44-year-old British woman, who was exposed to the Novichok nerve agent in Amesbury, western England, died on Sunday, news wires reported.

Dawn Sturgess and a 45-year-old man were taken ill on 30 June, just a 11 km from Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were struck down by the same agent four months ago. The death of Sturgess was being investigated as a murder by the police. Britain's interior minister Sajid Javid said that police were still working to discover how the two individuals were exposed to the nerve agent.

The two Britons were initially thought to have taken an overdose of heroin or crack cocaine. But tests by the Porton Down military research centre showed they had been exposed to Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War. Britain has notified the global chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The March attack on the Skripals prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War as allies sided with Britain's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent. Moscow hit back by expelling Western diplomats.


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