Police seize car in Swindon as Novichok probe spreads following poisoning death

Police have removed a car from a property in Swindon in connection with the fatal poisoning of a woman with the nerve agent Novichok in Amesbury last week.

Images posted on social media show how a team of men wearing masks and camouflaged suits carefully sealed the White Audi with cling film before it was towed away from the residential street.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, of Salisbury, died after being taken ill from her partner Charlie Rowley’s flat in nearby Amesbury on June 30.

Mr Rowley, 45, remains in a critical condition.

The force said those involved have ‘the training and expertise to remove the vehicle safely’ and that the public have no reason to be alarmed at this time.

They reiterated that the threat to the public remains low.

"We have arranged the transportation of a car from an address in Swindon this evening in relation to the on-going incident in Amesbury," the force said.

"The public should not be alarmed by this. Those involved have the training and expertise to safely remove the vehicle.

"The current advice from Public Health England is that the risk to the public remains low.

"A dedicated phone line is up and running for anyone who has any concerns or information relating to this incident."

Police have also sent away a red van for testing at the nearby Porton Down facility after it was revealed it had transported victim Mr Rowley just hours before he was hospitalised.

Driver Ben Milsom, 36, says he is now terrified traces of the deadly nerve agent could still be in his house.

“It wasn’t until the police got in touch and said they wanted to test the van that I started worrying", he told The Sun .

“And after what happened to Dawn I just started freaking out.

“I’ve been on the phone to the police and they said they would test the van first and if there was any traces of Novichok then they would come and take it away.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson blamed Russia for committing "an attack on British soil" over the latest poisonings, some four months after Sergei and Yulia Skripal were targeted.

Counter-terror police have said their main line of inquiry is whether the two cases are linked, but Mr Williamson went a step further by pointing the finger at Moscow.

He told MPs: "The simple reality is that Russia has committed an attack on British soil which has seen the death of a British citizen.

"That is something that I think the world will unite with us in actually condemning."

The Ministry of Defence is working with the police on the investigation and the clear-up effort, with 175 armed forces personnel involved.

Giving the latest update on the investigation, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said it is believed the latest victims received a "high dose" of the agent after handling a contaminated container.

Police are yet to recover that item but Public Health England said the risk to the public is low and warned against picking up "any strange items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers".

Central to the investigation is John Baker House, the supported-living accommodation where Ms Sturgess lived, Mr Rowley’s home and Salisbury’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which remains cordoned off.

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