UK announces public inquiry into chemical weapons death
The Home Department will investigate Dawn Sturgess' exposure to Novichok poison
The UK Home Office, also known as the Home Department of the Government of the United Kingdom, has announced that it would conduct a public inquiry on its citizen, Dawn Sturgess' death in 2018. Her death happened due to exposure to the military-grade nerve agent Novichok, which inhibits essential bodily functions.
Sturgess was accidentally exposed to the chemical weapon. The Novichok poison was known to be a part of an operation targeted at Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer, and his daughter, Yulia Skripal. The two had survived the attempted poisoning, which was allegedly in response to Sergei being a double agent, providing intelligence to both Russia and the UK.
Sturgess was one of the four people who were not the target, yet got exposed to the Novichok poison. In fact, she was the only person exposed to a fatal amount.
As per the Inquiries Act 2015, Baroness Hallett would conduct the inquiry into Sturgess' death after Hallet recently requested that Home Secretary Priti Patel establish such an inquiry.
Patel commented, "We are establishing an inquiry to ensure that all relevant evidence can be considered, with the hope that the family of Sturgess will get the answers they need and deserve."
Russian intelligence operatives are believed to have coordinated the poisoning. It is not the first time that the country has faced criticism over its use of chemical weapons. The country allegedly also used nerve agents against Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, who has publicly criticized Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin.