United Kingdom woman dies after second nerve-agent poisoning

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono prior to their breakfast meeting in Tokyo Japan on Sunday

United Kingdom police have launched a murder inquiry after a woman who was exposed to the nerve agent novichok died in hospital on Sunday evening.

Former Russian spy and British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal fell ill after coming in contact with the nerve agent at their home in Salisbury four months ago.

British police told Reuters they believe Sturgess and partner Charlie Rowley handled an item contaminated with the Novichok nerve agent poison this weekend.

A police officer stands at a cordon around a public litter bin next to a supported housing project in Salisbury after a major incident was declared when a man and woman were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent on July 5, 2018 in Salisbury, England.

Basu said Rowley was still critically ill in hospital and that Sturgess' family had asked for privacy.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent that was developed in the Soviet Union.

Rowley regularly scavenged for goods to fix and sell, leading to the possibility that he and Sturgess might have inadvertently found the container used to transport the Novichok. Skripal was discharged from the hospital in May and his daughter was released in April.

Despite the lack of evidence and deepening mystery many have been quick to point the finger at Russian Federation and brand the Amesbury poisoning "collateral damage".

He said no one else in the Amesbury and Salisbury region where the couple lived in southwestern England has shown any sign of Novichok poisoning.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it was a priority to locate a "container" which may have been the "source of the contamination". Sturgess was taken to hospital around 10.15am and Rowley several hours later, around 3.30pm.

The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working round the clock, he said.

"After new tests carried out with patient samples, we now know that y were exposed to nerve agent after handling a contaminated object", London police said in a statement.

They spent weeks in critical condition, but have both been discharged from Salisbury District Hospital, the same hospital where Sturgess died.

Putin has said that if a military-grade nerve agent had been used against them, the victims would have died.

The Kremlin has denied, as it did after attack on Skripal, any involvement with poisoning of Rowley and Sturgess, which it considers "deeply troubling", and called on British authorities not to incur "dirty political games" by relating Poisoning with case of Skripal.

Russian Federation is "deeply concerned by the continuing appearance of these poisonous substances on British territory", which "present a danger not just for the British but for all Europeans", Peskov added.

Police said the investigation "into the attempted murders of the Skripals is ongoing as detectives continue to assess all the evidence available".



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