Russian agents may have used public toilet as a lab to prepare the Novichok used in Salisbury attack

Counter-terror cops are probing the theory that hit squads smuggled the nerve agent’s components into the UK and mixed it here.

Forensic teams have discovered low-level contamination on a bench and in toilets in the city’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens. A source said: “Novichok is a liquid agent made of two components.

“The toilets in Queen Elizabeth Gardens are a key location where it could have been mixed, prepared or dumped.

“It’s chilling and definitely a line of inquiry.”

Sergei, 67, and Yulia Skripal, 33, fell ill on March 3 after touching Novichok smeared on their front door handle. Both survived.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS: How Novichok spread through Salisbury

Saturday, 3 March

  • Around 2.40pm, Yulia arrives at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Russia.

Sunday, 4 March

  • Sergei's car is seen in the area of London Road, Churchill Way North and Wilton Road about 9.15am
  • About 1.30pm, Sergei's car is seen being driven down Devizes Road, towards the town centre.
  • Ten minutes later, Sergei and Yulia arrive in Sainsbury's upper level car park at the Maltings. At some time after this, they go to the Bishops Mill Pub in the town centre.
  • They dine at Zizzi Restaurant about 2.40pm.
  • They leave Zizzi Restaurant about an hour later.
  • Emergency services receive a report from a member of the public at 4.15pm and police arrive at the scene within minutes, where they find Sergei and Yulia extremely ill on a park bench near the restaurant.

Friday, June 29 

  • At around 12.20pm Charlie Rowley and Dawn Strugess are together at John Baker House in Salisbury.
  • They then leave that venue and visit a number of shops in Salisbury before going to Queen Elizabeth Gardens.
  • They return to John Baker House at around 4.20pm before catching a bus to Amesbury at approximately 10.30pm.
  • The couple are then believed to have spent the night at an address on Muggleton Road, Amesbury.

Saturday, June 30

  • At 10.15am, the South West Ambulance Service are called to an address on Muggleton Road, where Sturgess had been taken ill, and she was subsequently taken to hospital. Rowley was also present at the address at this time.
  • At around midday, Rowley visits Boots the chemist on Stonehenge Walk in Amesbury and then returns to his address in Muggleton Road around half an hour later.
  • At around 1.45pm Rowley visits the Amesbury Baptist Centre on Butterfield Drive and again returns home at around 3pm.
  • At 6.20pm the South West Ambulance Service are called back to the address on Muggleton Road and Rowley is also taken to hospital.

Sunday July 8

  • Police confirm Dawn has passed away, sparking a murder probe

Friday, July 13

  • Cops reveal they found a bottle of Novichok inside the home of Salisbury victim Charlie Rowley

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on July 8 after she was given a sealed box containing a Novichok-filled perfume bottle. Boyfriend Charlie Rowley, 45, found it in the park on June 29.

Investigators believe two teams of agents may have prepared two separate phials.

Police said: “The investigation is ongoing. We are not prepared to discuss any lines of enquiry.”

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