A man and woman who were found unconscious in the United Kingdom on Saturday were poisoned by Novichok – the same nerve agent that poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday.
The couple, named by the British media as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, are in a critical condition having been found unconscious at a house in Wiltshire, Amesbury.
Speaking at a briefing at Scotland Yard, Neil Basu, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, said it could not be confirmed whether the nerve agent came from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to.
But he said the possibility was “clearly a line of enquiry”.
Basu said no contaminated items had yet been found, but officers were putting together a “very detailed examination of [the couple’s] movements” in order to determine where they were poisoned.
“We have no idea what may have contained the nerve agent at this time,” he said
Basu also stated that “nothing in their background” to suggest the pair were targeted.
The pair were initially thought to have been suffering from overdosage of heroin and cocaine when emergency services were called on Saturday following Sturgess’ collapse.
However, the military research facility, Porton Down, located in Wiltshire, confirmed that both Rowley and Sturgess had been exposed to Novichok after testing of their samples.
This incident comes five months after the Skripals had suffered the same fate in Salisbury.