Heartbroken dad of Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess's grief as fears grow poisoned partner has 'just days to live'

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in Salisbury District Hospital last night after being exposed to Novichok in Salisbury.

A man believed to be the father of Dawn spoke from behind the door at a terraced house in Durrington this morning, saying: "I'm devastated."

The home is not far from the flat where Ms Sturgess and her partner collapsed last Saturday.

It comes as police yesterday launched a murder investigation into Ms Sturgess' death, while her partner Charlie Rowley remains in a critical condition after falling ill on June 30.

Investigators believe Ms Sturgess and her partner may have found a vial or syringe used to transport the toxin used in the attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

What we know so far…

  • Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on Sunday night after exposure to Russian nerve agent Novichok
  • Sturgess and partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were rushed to Salisbury District Hospital after collapsing in Amesbury on June 30
  • They are believed to have handled a contaminated substance in Salisbury on June 29
  • Rowley remains in a critical condition in hospital
  • Police have launched a murder probe into Sturgess’ death, months after ex-spy Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were targeted with Novichok in the same city
  • PM Theresa May said she was ‘appalled and shocked’ by the news
  • Home Sec Sajid Javid is ‘determined to bring the killers to justice

The father-daughter pair survived the attack, with officials saying they were appalled innocent members of the public were now implicated in the international incident.

And the family of critically-ill Mr Rowley now fear the worst, saying he could just have days to live.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I am appalled and shocked by the death of Dawn Sturgess, and my thoughts and condolences go to her family and loved ones.

"Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts…now being investigated as a murder."

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire police and crime commissioner, said: "Ms Sturgess was an innocent member of the public who should have been able to go about her daily life without becoming an unwilling victim in such an unprecedented, international, incident.

"I am horrified and appalled that an illegal and lethal nerve agent has been used on the streets of our county.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism policing said: "This is shocking and tragic news.

"Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.

"This terrible news has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act.

Dawn, who lived in John Baker House, a homeless hostel in Salisbury, was seen buying alcohol from her local cornershop just hours before she fell ill on June 30.

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down confirmed to police that the couple had both been exposed to Novichok.

Further tests of samples from Dawn and the man showed that they were exposed to the nerve agent after touching a contaminated item with their hands, but the source has not yet been established.

Police said there was no evidence that they visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March this year.

Police said that the investigation into the attempted murders of the Skripals was ongoing as detectives continue to assess available evidence.

A post mortem will be scheduled to establish the exact cause of death in due course.

Staff at Salisbury District Hospital said they “did everything they could” to save Dawn.

Anyone with any information that could assist with this investigation should contact the police by calling 0800 789 321.

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