The source of the nerve agent, Novichok, which gravely affected a UK couple, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, has been identified, the Metropolitan Police said on Friday.
In a statement issued by the Met Police, the contaminated object; a small bottle, was recovered during searches of Rowley’s house in Amesbury, where the couple fell ill after being coming in contact with the deadly agent.
The statement further disclosed that the contaminated bottle was taken to the UK’s military research institute at Porton Down for tests, which returned positive tests for the Novichok agent.
Neil Basu, Head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing, described the discovery as “a significant and positive development.”
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, however, warned that the remaining portions of the agent may not have been found and asked the public to be very careful with their handling of public objects.
He said, “This is clearly a significant and positive development. However, we cannot guarantee that there isn’t any more of the substance left and cordons will remain in place for some considerable time. This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team.
“I also appreciate there is a lot of interest in this; however, we are not in a position to disclose any further details regarding the bottle at this stage.
“The safety of the public and our officers remains paramount and we are continuing to work closely with Wiltshire Police, scientists, health experts from Public Health England and other partners.”
Sturgess, 44, died in hospital on July 8 after been exposed to the nerve agent, while Rowley, 45, who was also taken to hospital, has since regained consciousness but remains in a serious situation.