British woman poisoned by nerve agent dies

The unnamed couple from Amesbury are in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital

The killing of Dawn Sturgess, a mother of three, will increase pressure on President Putin after Sajid Javid, the home secretary, accused the Kremlin of using Britain as a dumping ground for poison.

Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley, 45, was also exposed to the nerve agent around the same time and place - and he remains in critical condition and in a coma at the Salisbury hospital.

The 67-year-old ex-agent was living in Salisbury, a cathedral city 145 kilometres southwest of London, when he was struck down along with his daughter, Yulia, who was visiting him.

The Met Police have now confirmed further tests of samples from Dawn and Charlie Rowley show they were exposed to the nerve agent after touching a contaminated item with their hands.

"This awful 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", Neil Basu, the head of United Kingdom counterterrorism policing, said in a statement.

Police have announced that they've launched a full homicide investigation.

Britain maintains the March attack on the Skripals had been ordered by the Russian government, a charge denied by representatives of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Federation denied any involvement in the Skripal incident, and suggested that British police had orchestrated it to stoke anti-Russia sentiments.

Prime Minister Theresa said she was "appalled and shocked by the death", and announced that incident is now being investigated as a murder. "Police and security officials are working urgently to establish the facts of this incident, which is now being investigated as a murder".

"We are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to", they said.

Dawn Sturgess died after exposure to a nerve agent in southeast England.

Confirmation from authorities Wednesday that two British citizens were exposed to Novichok shook residents around Salisbury, who thought a months-long cleanup had removed any threat from the powerful nerve agent.

Public Health England said the risk to the general public "remains low". Police said there is no evidence that either Sturgess or Rowley visited any of the sites where the Skripals may have been poisoned.

The two Britons had been taken ill last Saturday.

"Today is the day we hoped would never come", said Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard.

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