Tragedy strikes England when a man and women were reportedly poisoned by the same nerve agent as the former Russian spy who fell ill while in custody. Unfortunately, the female victim did not survive the ordeal and residence, understandably, are on edge.
According to New York Times, A 44-year-old British woman who was exposed to a nerve agent died on Sunday, bringing new urgency to a four-month-old diplomatic standoff in which Britain has accused Russia of sending the poison to a small city in southern England in a botched attempt to kill a former spy.
The British authorities have now opened a murder investigation.
“Today is the day we hoped would never come,” said Chief Constable Kier Pritchard of the Wiltshire Police.
The police say the woman, Dawn Sturgess, was most likely exposed accidentally to residue from a Soviet-developed, military-grade nerve agent used in a March attack on the former spy, Sergei V. Skripal. He lived near Ms. Sturgess in Salisbury.
After Mr. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed, British officials declared confidently that Russia was at fault, in large part because of the obscure poison involved. It was one of a strain of nerve agents known as Novichok that they say is kept under tight control by the Russian authorities.
The hospital’s medical director, Christine Blanshard, told the BBC that hospital staff worked tirelessly to save Sturgess. “They did everything they could,” she said.
Alastair Hay, a professor of environmental toxicology at Leeds University, said the hospital probably now had more experience than anywhere else in the world with Novichok cases, but there were limits to what doctors could do.
“Because the nerve agents compromise nerve and muscle function, their effects are widespread and where deaths occur these are usually due to either respiratory or circulatory failure, or both,” he said.
Britain’s public health authority acknowledged on Friday the concerns of people living in the area after the two incidents involving Novichok, but said it was confident that the risk to the public remained low.
Because Sturgess and the former spy, Mr. Skripal, did not live too far from one another maybe police will finally be able to narrow down the origin of this highly dangerous poison?