Police allegedly believe to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March, this year.
A source with knowledge of investigation tells Press Association investigators used CCTV to identify the two ‘Russian’ perpetrators, reports The Guardian.
Earlier this month, on July 8th Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after being poisoned by Novichok. Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45 still remains in hospital, seriously ill. As previously reported the Police believe that the incidents are linked. The most likely case being that the perpetrators discarded the container of Novichok, which, months later, fell into the hands of Dawn and Charlie.
The UK government has blamed Russia for the incident, however Russian authorities deny any and all involvement in the case. The Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko told the BBC: “Unfortunately, we don’t have official statement of the British side. I want to hear that from the Scotland Yard or from the Foreign Office. A lot of versions that we hear in newspapers, they are not supported by the Foreign Office.”
Sergei Skripal and his daughter have been discharged from hospital and moved to a secure location after they were discovered slumped on a bench on March 4th.
The anonymous source told the Press Association: “Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian.”
Furthermore, according to the Press Association, as quoted by BBC – investigators believe Ms Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times the amount of nerve agent as the Skripals came into contact with.
The BBC, The Guardian among other media have been unable to confirm the story. The Metropolitan Police also refuse to comment.
The BBC quotes Philip Ingram, a former British Army intelligence officer and chemical weapons expert, said the development supported his perception that this was a “professional attack” designed to send a “political message”, he also adds that it occurred two weeks before the Russian election.
Furthermore, on July 18th, Chemistry World reports that Police have found the source of the fatal poisoning of Dawn Sturgess. Tests at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory revealed a small bottle found in the house of one of the victims – Charlie Rowley – was contaminated with the nerve agent.
Business Insider reports that Dawn Sturgess may have sprayed Novichok on her wrists, believing that it was perfume. A supposed member of her extended family has allegedly said that she sprayed an odd-smelling substance on her wrists short before falling ill.
Matthew Rowley, Charlie’s brother claims that his brother recollected the moment of spraying in a phone call between the two. He was quoted by MailOnline in an interview. The Police and Counter-terrorists, according to the BBC have also confirmed that the nerve agent was discovered in a “small bottle” in Rowley’s home near Salisbury. Charlie, however, cannot remember where the bottle originated from and how it ended up in his possession.
Despite the gaps in the perfume scenario version some say that it is coherent with Police theory that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were collateral damage after the Novichok container was discarded after the assassination attempt on the Skripals.
At this point police are trying to discover where the container originated from. On July 18th, BBC also reports that the initial stages of the testing of the Novichok in the “small bottle” have finished, there will shortly be conclusive results that show if the Novichok that poisoned the Skripals is from the same batch that proved fatal for Dawn.
An inquest was also opened at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner’s Court, there Senior Coroner David Ridley confirmed that swabs were taken from Ms. Sturgess and Mr. Rowley and were positive for the nerve agent. The inquest was adjourned until January.