Novichok victim Dawn Sturgess's parents blame UK government 'for putting Skripal in Salisbury'

‘I want justice from our own government,’ says father Stan Sturgess

Adam Forrest
Saturday 16 February 2019 02:11
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Dawn Sturgess
Dawn Sturgess

The parents of the only person who died in last year’s novichok poisonings in Wiltshire have spoken of their anger towards the UK government over their daughter’s death.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after she was accidentally exposed to the same nerve agent as former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in July 2018.

Stan and Caroline Sturgess said the British authorities had still not given them “all the facts” in the case. They also voiced their fears there could still be novichok in Wiltshire as yet undiscovered by investigators.

The couple told The Guardian that they did not hate Russia, accused by the UK government of carrying out an attack on Mr Skripal in Salisbury.

“If they’d targeted Dawn specifically, it would be different,” said Mr Sturgess. “I want justice from our own government. What are they hiding? I don’t think they have given us all the facts. If anyone, I blame the government for putting Skripal in Salisbury.”

The Skripals were taken to hospital on 4 March after being poisoned in Salisbury.

Three months later Dawn Sturgess and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley fell ill at his home 11 miles from the city in Amesbury.

They were found to have been poisoned by novichok in a perfume bottle Mr Rowley had found in a bin and given to her as a gift. She died on 8 July.

Sergei Skripal at Moscow District Military Court hearing

Her parents spoke about their feelings towards Mr Skripal, a former military intelligence officer agent who acted as a double agent for British intelligence services and was eventually jailed in his homeland for high treason.

The 67-year-old and his 33-year-old daughter recovered from the attack and are now at an undisclosed location for their own safety.

Ms Sturgess said: “It’s sad they ended up in a coma but they weren’t the true victims. He [Skripal] took risks – he must have known there was a chance people were still after him.”

Salisbury attack: Two Russian spies named as suspects in novichok poisoning case

Her husband added: “I don’t know where Skripal is and I don’t know what I’d do if I met him. He’s still got his daughter.”

The couple said their daughter had recovered from issues with alcohol and had found happiness in her relationship with Mr Rowley. “Dawn was really turning a corner,” said her mother.

Ms Sturgess also revealed what they knew of how Mr Rowley came by the perfume bottle.

“I think he stumbled on it. I believe he had only just found it. If Charlie had found it in a bin in March he would have given it to Dawn straight away.”

The couple believe more novichok could be found in Wiltshire. “This could happen again,” said Ms Sturgess. “There could be another package out there.”

British officials have blamed the attack on the GRU, and charged two Russian suspects who travelled under the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Both men deny involvement in the poisoning, and Moscow refuses to extradite them to Britain.

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