(LONDON) — British police have confirmed that a man and woman critically ill from nerve-agent poisoning were exposed to the toxin by handling a contaminated item.
The finding bolsters the theory that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley may have stumbled across traces of the Novichok nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
The Skripals spent weeks in critical condition after being attacked in the southwest England city of Salisbury in March. Sturgess and Rowley collapsed in Amesbury, a few miles away, on Saturday. They are in critical condition in Salisbury District Hospital.
The Metropolitan Police force said Thursday that “following further tests of samples from the patients, we now know that they were exposed to the nerve agent after handling a contaminated item.”
Detectives have cordoned off several sites in Amesbury and Salisbury as they search for the source of the contamination.