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Britain To Hold Public Inquiry Into Woman's 2018 Novichok Death


Dawn Sturgess (left) and Charles Rowley came into contact with the Novichok nerve agent on a discarded perfume bottle.

Britain says it will hold a public inquiry into the death of a woman believed to have died indirectly during the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian double agent.

Dawn Sturgess's inquest could be converted into a public inquiry, Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote in a letter to Coroner Heather Hallett on November 18, saying she hoped it would "bring comfort" to the family.

Public inquiries are major probes convened by a government minister that can be gifted special powers to compel testimony and the release of other forms of evidence.

Sturgess, 44, died in a hospital in July 2018 after she and her partner became seriously ill in the English town of Amesbury. The two came into contact with the Novichok nerve agent on a discarded perfume bottle.

Her death followed the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and a former police officer, who fell ill in the nearby town of Salisbury in March 2018.

All three survived, as did Sturgess's partner.

British authorities say Russia's GRU military intelligence was responsible for the chemical attack, and have charged three of its agents with committing the poisoning, in which Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Based on reporting by the BBC, Reuters, and dpa
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