Police 'identify' suspects of Skripal novichok attack

Police believe several Russians were involved in the attempted murder of the former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia

Police are believed to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichock attack on former Russian sky Sergi Skripal.

The 66-year-old and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were attacked with the nerve agent at their home in Salisbury, Wiltshire last March. Both survived the attack and were discharged from Salisbury District Hospital after extensive treatment.

Officers now think several Russians were involved in the attempted murder of the former double agent,and are looking for more than one suspect, according to the British-based news agency Press Association.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told PA: “Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time. They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian.”

The news comes as an inquest is due to open on Thursday for Dawn Sturgess, 44, who died earlier this month, eight days after coming into contact with novichok. Police are working on the assumption that it came from the same batch used in the attempted murder of the Skripals in March.

Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, was left critically ill after also being contaminated by the nerve agent.

It is understood Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times the amount of novichok the Skripals came into contact with, PA said.

Investigators are working on the theory that the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle found by the couple in a park or elsewhere in Salisbury city centre and Sturgess sprayed novichok straight on to her skin, the source said.

When he appeared at a public meeting in Amesbury on 10 July, Britain’s leading counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu, said the “brutal reality” was that police had not yet caught the would-be assassin or assassins.

Since March hundreds of officers have been examining many thousands of hours of CCTV footage attempting to spot the Skripal attackers.

On Wednesday, a fingertip search began of Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury, one of the areas Sturgess and Rowley visited shortly before they fell ill.

The park and other locations in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury were cordoned off last month after the exposure of the couple to the nerve agent.

The government has continued to make clear it believes the Russian state was behind the attack on the Skripals.

Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian politicians have continued to deny any involvement in the poisonings.

More in World