Novichok bottle that went missing in Salisbury ‘could have killed thousands'

The amount of novichok concealed in a counterfeit perfume bottle used in the 2018 Salisbury attack could have killed thousands of people, police have said.

Investigators still do not know what happened to the weapon between when it was used to poison Sergei Skripal on 4 March 2018 and when it was discovered by a member of the public on 22 June that year.

Believing the fake Nina Ricci perfume to be real, Charlie Rowley gave it as a present to his partner Dawn Sturgess, who died after applying the nerve agent to her skin.

Dean Haydon, the senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, said investigators had not established how the bottle was brought into the UK.

“The amount of novichok in that bottle was quite significant, and could have killed hundreds if not thousands of people if it had come into wider circulation in the public,” he told a press conference.

“We have not been able to account for the whereabouts of the bottle, nozzle and box between the initial attack and Mr Rowley finding it on 22 June. We want to hear from anyone who might have information.”

Mr Rowley believes he may have found the bottle in a charity shop bin in Salisbury, but Mr Haydon said police had not found any evidence to confirm exactly where it was found or how it got there.

He said there was a “gap” in the investigation over where the two Russian GRU agents who carried out the attack discarded the bottle after using it to apply novichok to Mr Skripal’s front door.

The issue is expected to be a key part of the inquest into the death of Ms Sturgess, a 44-year-old mother. A hearing will take place on Wednesday.

A third Russian spy has been charged with involvement in the attack, which targeted former Russian double agent Mr Skripal.

Denis Sergeev, who travelled to the UK under the alias Sergey Fedotov, is believed to have commanded the two GRU agents who carried out the poisoning from London.

He flew from Moscow to Heathrow airport on 2 March 2018, arriving around four hours before his colleagues, and stayed at a hotel in Paddington for two nights.

British counterterrorism police said Mr Sergeev met with the two agents, who then travelled to Salisbury “on more than one occasion” over the weekend of the attack, but that no traces of novichok were found at his hotel.

Mr Sergeev, who is aged around 50, flew back to Moscow from Heathrow at 1.45pm on 4 March, less than two hours after the nerve agent was applied to Mr Skripal’s door.

The fake perfume bottle and applicator found at Charlie Rowley’s home (Metropolitan Police)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised the same charges against Mr Sergeev as the two previous suspects, including the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the grievous bodily harm of police officer Nick Bailey, and the use of novichok as a chemical weapon.

The Russian government has denied any involvement in the 2018 attack. At a press conference on Tuesday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused the UK of “deliberately worsening relations” and of using the poisoning “to increase anti-Russian feeling in British society”.

“We condemn attempts to blame Russia,” she added. “We are trying to ascertain the truth and want exhaustive information from the UK, and to fulfil obligations to give us consulate access to our citizens [Sergei and Yulia Skripal]”.

Mr Haydon said Mr Sergeev had “operated as a team” with Alexander Mishkin, alias Alexander Petrov, and Anatoliy Chepiga, alias Ruslan Boshirov.

Mr Haydon, who is also deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told a press conference: “They came here separately in two groups – Petrov and Boshirov together, Fedotov by himself – [and] met, and without a doubt they’ve operated as a small team with a view to deploying novichok to kill people in this country.

“There is other intelligence that suggests they’ve been here before, but in other countries as well, working as a threesome and likely with others … in relation to similar attacks.”

British police are working with their counterparts in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic in relation to attacks linked to the same suspects. Investigators said there was no evidence that they had been involved in previous attacks in the UK.

Dawn Sturgess, a mother of three from Durrington, died after being exposed to novichok (Facebook)

The charges announced on Tuesday do not cover the death of Ms Sturgess and the inquiry into her death continues.

“There are still parts of the picture we have not been able to piece together,” Mr Haydon said. “We remain as determined as ever to bring those responsible for Dawn’s murder and Charlie’s poisoning to justice.”

The CPS is not applying to Russia for an extradition warrant because the country’s constitution does not permit the extradition of its own nationals.

Instead, Interpol red notices have been issued, meaning the suspects can be arrested if they leave Russia – where all three men are believed to remain.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw Mr Sergeev in the UK, or may have information on the whereabouts of the counterfeit Nina Ricci perfume bottle between March and June 2018, to call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or email salisbury2018@met.police.uk.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

The Xbox Series X mini fridge is set to arrive in December

© Provided by Windows Central Keep your favorite drinks cold in a fridge that matches your console. What you need to know The Xbox Series X mini fridge started as ... Read more »

Global PC sales remain strong despite semiconductor shortage

© damircudic / Getty Images Worldwide PC shipments grew by 1% in the summer of 2021. Some 84.1 million PCs shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2021, up 1% ... Read more »

Will Russia seek leverage over Europe amid global energy squeeze?

© Alexander Nemenov, AFP Russia has been seeking in recent days to position itself at the centre of the debate surrounding Europe’s energy crisis. Although the geostrategic chess player Vladimir Putin may want to leverage Russia’s ... Read more »

Army tests the future of warfare... goggles that can tell when soldiers are nodding off

Eye goggles that detect when soldiers are nodding off or stressed are to be trialled by the Army. © Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images Soldiers from 5th Battalion, The Rifles tried out ... Read more »

Apple soundbar: price, release date, features and latest news

An Apple soundbar could be on the way, merging Apple TV with the impressive audio processing and voice control of the HomePod. It’s only a rumour at this stage, but ... Read more »

Where to buy Oculus Quest 2: prices and deals compared

It’s not surprising that many often wonder where to buy Oculus Quest 2. Between holiday stock shortages last year and a month of absence from the shelves in August, the ... Read more »

Brain ‘Fingerprints' Could Unlock Alzheimer's Early Warning System

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos Getty Every human brain is made up of seemingly countless connections that come together as a type of biological map of the ... Read more »

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 13 Pro: Is this the year to go Pro?

The iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro are out now, which means that Apple’s smartphone vision has been established for the next year. So what are we dealing with ... Read more »

Accelerating the discovery of new materials for 3D printing

A new machine-learning system costs less, generates less waste, and can be more innovative than manual discovery methods. Read more »

Scientists find evidence the early solar system harbored a gap between its inner and outer regions

The cosmic boundary, perhaps caused by a young Jupiter or a wind from the solar system emerging, likely shaped the composition of infant planets. Read more »

The HTC Vive Flow is a $499 VR headset that doesn't need a PC

© Provided by Space HTC Vive Flow is the $499 VR headset that doesn’t need a PC HTC has finally revealed its next step in the world of VR, with ... Read more »

Google Chat is getting an important security upgrade

Preventing data leaks is of the utmost importance to businesses which is why Google is launching a new beta to add data loss prevention (DLP) to Google Chat. The search ... Read more »

Qualcomm is salty about Pixel's switch to Tensor but really shouldn't be

© Image: Google The Google Pixel 6 phones will ditch Snapdragon chips for an in-house design, and Qualcomm is clearly feeling a little hurt about it. Qualcomm couldn’t help but ... Read more »

Apple AirTag Vs Tile: we pit the two key trackers head to head

Losing items, whether it’s your wallet, bag, keys, or the TV remote, is frustrating, time consuming… and no longer necessary. According to motoring organization the RAC, 43% of drivers regularly ... Read more »

You can delete Facebook and still keep some of your memories. Here's how.

Michael Humphrey is an assistant professor of Journalism and Media Communication at Colorado State University. This story originally featured on The Conversation. © everstruslan/Deposit Photos You have three options: delete ... Read more »

After the dinosaurs, Earth became an all-you-can-eat buffet for snakes

When it comes to snakes, the modern world offers an embarrassment of riches. There are almost 4,000 different snake species alive today, placing the group not far behind mammals in ... Read more »

Dell discounts XPS 13 with Windows 10, debunks Windows 11 tax theories

© Windows Central Dell XPS 13 You could save some cash by ordering an older Dell laptop with Windows 10. What you need to know A recent report sparked speculation ... Read more »

Lectrofan Classic

© Provided by TechRadar Lectrofan Classic One-minute review It might not look like much, but the modestly designed Lectrofan Classic has the ability to drown out even the loudest of ... Read more »

Mobile app helps people manage their blood pressure

© Hello Heart People with high blood pressure who used a smartphone app and at-home monitor were able to drive down their blood pressure, a new study showed. The program, ... Read more »

ZmBIZI's $550 Z2 phone pays you for your data usage

The ZmBIZI Z2 is a the $550 4G phone that pays you for the personal data you share on your phone. We live so much of our lives on our ... Read more »

Apple's child sexual abuse detection tech ‘would make us all less safe and secure', security experts warn

Technology proposed by Apple to sweep iPhones for child sexual abuse images would prevent neither crimes nor intrusive surveillance, security experts have warned. © Provided by The i Apple’s proposed ... Read more »

How to use iOS 15's new Focus modes

© Image: Apple These days, it is way too easy to be pulled from your work by notifications and other distractions. In order to help you keep your attention where ... Read more »

The myth of generations, debunked

© Sai deSilva/Unsplash Generational divides and conflicts between Gen Z, millennials, and boomers only hold society back. This story originally appeared in the Youth issue of Popular Science. Current subscribers ... Read more »

Vergecast: HTC's new VR headset, and what to expect at next week's tech events

© Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where co-hosts Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn discuss the week in ... Read more »

This 3D printed rocket is heading into space in 2022

© Courtesy of Relativity Space Relativity Space has developed a 3D printing system for its future Terran 1 and Terran R rockets. In a major first, American startup Relativity Space ... Read more »

Telescopes for sale: The best prices on Newtonians, Dobsonians and more

© Provided by Space Telescopes for sale: Image shows man next to telescope looking at moon Hunting down telescopes for sale is one of the best ways to save money ... Read more »

The M1 Mac Mini has dropped to its lowest price ever at Amazon

© Provided by The Verge Amazon’s $150 discount on the 512GB Mac Mini brings the 2020 desktop down to its lowest price to date. The Mac Mini is already Apple’s ... Read more »

Katarina Johnson-Thompson parts ways with coach Bertrand Valcin

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Katarina Johnson-Thompson is looking for a new coach after parting with the Frenchman who helped transform her career. Bertrand Valcin has overseen Johnson-Thompson’s astonishing ... Read more »

Get connecting with the Windows 11 Chat app

© Provided by Windows Central Windows 11 has a new Chat experience, and in this guide, we’ll show you how to get started. Windows 11 also comes with Chat, a ... Read more »

Operations suspended at lab after false negative PCR tests

Operations have been suspended at a Wolverhampton laboratory as NHS Test and Trace investigates reports of people receiving negative PCR results despite testing positive on a lateral flow. Read more »

Microsoft Edge Dev gains Share support on Windows 7

© Windows Central Microsoft Edge Update Dev New2 Surprisingly, the latest update to Edge Dev adds a feature for Windows 7. What you need to know Microsoft Edge Dev has ... Read more »

Self-driving cars plague San Francisco street

© Getty Images Waymo is trying out self-driving cars with a human “safety driver” on board Residents in a “dead-end” street in San Francisco say they are being plagued by ... Read more »

Sir David Amess asks Boris Johnson to help reduce 'senseless' knife crime murders at PMQs

The Tory veteran, 69, who has died after being repeatedly stabbed at a constituents‘ meeting, asked the Prime Minister to commit to reducing knife crime on March 3 this year, ... Read more »

UK public warms to road pricing as fuel duty replacement considered

Road pricing is seen as a fairer possible system to raise revenue than fuel duty and motoring taxes, thinktank research has found. The switch to electric cars means almost £30bn ... Read more »

And the winners are.... Here are my picks for 2021's best tablets

We may receive commission from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. Tablets come in all shapes and sizes. Wait, the shapes are ... Read more »

7 studies ivermectin fans cite to say the drug works against COVID-19, and why they're flawed

Ivermectin tablets are commonly prescribed for deworming in countries including India and Brazil. Photo by Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images Ivermectin is good at killing parasites, but it's still not ... Read more »

Archery champ accused of stabbing lover's teen stepson to death in ‘occult' murder

Maria Korneeva is three-time archery-biathlon champion East2west News A sports star allegedly stabbed her lover’s teen stepson to death in an “occult” murder after trying to cut a pentagram into ... Read more »

Sussex police arrest man on suspicion of impersonating officer so he could kidnap girl

A man has been arrested in Sussex on suspicion of impersonating a police officer so he could kidnap a 14-year-old girl on her way to school. Read more »