Two people in Britain were poisoned with the same nerve agent used on a former Russian double agent and his adult daughter in March, London Metropolitan Police said Wednesday.
The couple, Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, were found unconscious at a house in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on Saturday, BBC News reported. That’s about 10 miles from where Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who later went to work for the British government, and daughter Yulia were poisoned.
The Skripals survived their attacks after weeks of hospitalization. Rowley and Sturgess are still being treated.
In both cases, the poison believed to have been used is a Novichok agent, a group of chemical weapon substances developed by the Soviet Union during the 1970s.
“Following the detailed analysis of these samples, we can confirm that the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both Yulia and Sergei Skripal,” said Neil Basu, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer.
Both poisonings are still under investigation and authorities are trying to determine if they are connected.
“The complex investigation into the attempted murders of Yulia and Sergei remains ongoing and detectives continue to sift through and assess all the available evidence and are following every possible lead to identify those responsible, for what remains a reckless and barbaric criminal act,” Basu said. “However, I must say that we are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skripals were exposed to.
“The possibility that these two investigations might be linked is clearly a line of inquiry for us.”