LONDON - A woman who died after being poisoned with a nerve agent that also struck a former Russian spy in March must have handled a contaminated item, and tracking it down is key to police investigations, Britain's top counter-terrorism officer said.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on Sunday just over a week after she was exposed to Novichok in southwestern England, a few miles from where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with the same poison.
The death of Sturgess, a mother of three, was being treated as a murder, police said.
"This latest horrendous turn of events has only served to strengthen the resolve of our investigation team as we work to identify those responsible for this outrageous, reckless and barbaric act," counter-terrorism police chief Neil Basu said.
Basu told reporters the priority was to determine how Sturgess and her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley who is critically ill, came across an item contaminated with Novichok, developed by the Soviet military during the Cold War.