U.K. police confirm source of Novichok poisoning

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu

Police have found a bottle believed to have contained the novichok that killed Dawn Sturgess and poisoned Charle Rowley in Wiltshire, Scotland Yard have announced.

The Foreign Office also on Friday said it had invited independent technical experts from the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog to Britain early next week "to independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent".

This remains a main line of inquiry for police.

Police said they were still trying to find out where the bottle came from, and why it ended up in the house.

Dawn Sturgess, who has died as a result of Novichok poisoning, is pictured in Salisbury, Britain June 27, 2016, in this picture obtained from social media.

A post-mortem is due to take place next week to establish Sturgess' cause of death and an inquest will be opened and adjourned on Thursday, July 19.

Rowley, 45, remains in serious condition at a hospital in nearby Salisbury after emerging from a 10-day coma.

Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu said no more details would be provided about the bottle. "However, we can not guarantee that there isn't any more of the substance left", Basu said. "This is to allow thorough searches to continue as a precautionary measure for public safety and to assist the investigation team", he said.

"This will free up some Wiltshire Police officers to get back to supporting day-to-day community policing".

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Police said they had been able to speak to him "briefly".

He was taken to a hospital, police said, confirming that there was no risk to his health or the wider public.

Wiltshire Chief Constable Kier Pritchard welcomed the development, describing it as "significant and encouraging".

Further tests are also being carried out to see if the Novichok came from the same batch that was applied to the front door of Skripal's house in Salisbury.

"We continue to support colleagues from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network to progress the inquiry as swiftly and safely as possible".

He said private security guards would join officers on some of the cordons from next week, as the investigation continued.

Public health officials say the risk to the public is low, but advised people not to pick up any odd items.

"As a precaution Public Health England continues to advise the public not to pick up any unusual items such as syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass".

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