The brother of one of the Novichok poisoning victims has claimed that the nerve agent was found in a perfume bottle, as Britain reportedly closes in on identifying the Russian spies responsible for the attack.
Charlie Rowley, 45, was left fighting for his life in hospital after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent in Salisbury, Wiltshire and his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, died last Sunday following a heart attack.
Police started a murder investigation after Ms Sturgess’s death and are now said to be closing in on the people who carried out the attack.
Mr Rowley’s brother Matthew said the poison had been contained in a perfume bottle which the 45-year-old picked up, BBC News reported.
Charlie Rowley (pictured), 45, was left fighting for his life in hospital after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent in Salisbury, Wiltshire
He said Charlie Rowley was ‘absolutely not the brother I know’ and said he was still concerned after speaking to his brother on the phone.
But he said his brother had started eating solid food again as he continues to be treated at Salisbury District Hospital.
Meanwhile the New York Times reported that the Russian GRU agency is thought to be responsible for the attacks in Salisbury.
The newspaper quoted an American official as saying that Britain was ‘closing in on identifying the individuals they believe carried out the operation’ although it was not ruled out that other agencies could have been involved.
Sergei Skripal served in the GRU, which is also cited in charges by U.S. officials related to alleged Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election.
Police said last week they had found traces of the nerve agent in a small bottle in the Amesbury home of Mr Rowley.
Experts are trying to determine whether the Novichok that poisoned them was from the same batch used in the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
Earlier it was reported that Charlie Rowley’s first words when he woke from a coma were ‘They killed my girlfriend, They killed my girlfriend!’
A post-mortem for Ms Sturgess is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and an inquest into her death is set to open and adjourn in Salisbury on Thursday.
Experts are trying to determine whether the Novichok that poisoned them was from the same batch used in the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal
Search teams investigating the poisoning have recovered more than 400 exhibits, samples and items – with police warning that searches could last months.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing in the UK, described the process as ‘painstaking and vital work’.
Counter-terror detectives are trying to establish where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Mr Rowley’s home.
The UK has invited experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent.