Matthew Rowley, brother of Charlie Rowley the surviving victim of the Novichok poisoning that happened close to two weeks ago speaks to BBC News about the container of the nerve agent which appears to have been a perfume bottle. Metropolitan Police refuse to confirm the claim only stating that the nerve agent was discovered inside a “small bottle.”
On June 30th, Dawn Sturgess was admitted into Hospital after falling ill at home in Amesbury. She passed away on July 8th. One of the last things she did was buy a bottle of alcohol, revealed by CCTV footage. Her partner, Charlie Rowley, was left severely ill.
Investigators believe that the poisoning is linked to the Novichok attack of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, earlier in March this year.
One of the possibilities is that the culprit was discarding a container filled with Novichok and months later Dawn and Charlie picked up unknowingly months later.
The discovery of the perfume bottle containing the nerve agent will allow the Porton Down defence laboratory to test if the substance is from the same batch used to poison Skripal and his daughter.
Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were called in to assist and the tests in the Porton Down laboratory concluded that the substance is, in fact, Novichok.
The investigators have seized hundreds of items, and most recently four vehicles in Salisbury and Swindon. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counterterror policing describes the search as “one of the most complex and difficult that UK policing has ever faced”. He adds that “the work being carried out is extremely important. Not only are we trying to solve an extremely serious crime that has been committed, but we’re also working to identify any potential outstanding risks to the public; all whilst ensuring that all those involved in the search process are not themselves exposed to any risk of contamination.”
The most recent development in the Skripal case is from July 5th which states that “under Russian surveillance” months before the poisoning, reported by BBC Newsnight reports, the broadcaster also said that Ms. Skripal’s phone has been investigated for signs of malware which have been used to track her movements. The poison was administered via a door handle, something which declassified British Intelligence report shows of a 2000s covert Russian programme training agents in precisely that sort of assassination. Britain accused Russia of poisoning the father and daughter in the first reported use of the Novichok nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.
Dawn Sturgess seems to have no connection to Skripal and is a victim of the poisoner’s discarded leftover. Her funeral might have to wait months, because her poisoned remains are “property of the Crown” her son, Ewan Hope, has been told. A family friend of the Sturgess said that Dawn has not been given the same care and attention as Skripal because she is a “nobody-alcoholic.” The Sun also reports that the same family friend stated that Dawn was suffering from post-natal depression after her son Aidan was born. Hours before she passed away she went into cardiac arrest for about 30 minutes when her son was quoted to say “I’m worried I’ll lose mum” or that she may suffer severe brain damage, the Sun reports.
The Independent report that a senior government scientific source has told journalists that the nerve agent could have been smuggled through a British airport in a “discreet” container.
Mr. Rowley who has since his collapse and falling ill regained consciousness and has spoken to the police, however no information has been released. His brother, Matthew is extremely upset about his brother’s condition and that his brother is “absolutely not the brother I know”.
It is yet unclear whether the murder of Dawn Sturgess, it is currently a murder since according to the Independent police have launched a murder investigation, and poisoning of Charlie Rowley are related to the Skripal poisoning case or whether the poison is from the same batch which was used on the Russian ex-spy and his daughter. Investigators seem to believe that the most likely scenario is of collateral damage after the discarding of the leftover poison by the culprit.