By Alex Green For Mailonline
16:45 EDT 08 Jul 2018, updated 16:57 EDT 08 Jul 2018
• Dawn Sturgess, 44, was infected by the deadly nerve agent in Wiltshire last week
• Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were admitted to Salisbury hospital
• Ms Sturgess’s son Ewan claims her heart stopped beating and she was starved of oxygen for half an hour as she fought for her life
The mother poisoned by Novichok in Wiltshire has died in hospital after suffering massive heart failure.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, was infected by the deadly nerve agent after picking up a contaminated item near where ex-spy Sergei Skripal was found unconscious in Salisbury.
Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, were admitted to hospital last week after being infected by the deadly substance.
Mr Rowley remains critically ill in hospital.
“A neighbour called Tom Ricks believes Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 (pictured) picked up a drugs package contaminated with the poison in Queen Eliazabeth Gardens, Salisbury”/>
A neighbour called Tom Ricks believes Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45 (pictured) picked up a drugs package contaminated with the poison in Queen Eliazabeth Gardens, Salisbury
Fighting for his life: Charlie Rowley, 45, is still critically ill
A neighbour claimed the couple were exposed to the agent at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury – just a four-minute walk away from the bench outside The Maltings shopping centre where the Skripals were found poisoned earlier this year.
The couple, both known to struggle with alcohol and drug addiction, were treated at Salisbury District Hospital.
A police officer was also treated for symptoms there, but was last night given the all clear by medics.
Dawn Sturgess captured on CCTV hours before ‘Novichok’ poisoning
“Sergeant Scott Hill and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills are pictured in Amesbury today”/>
Sergeant Scott Hill and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills are pictured in Amesbury today
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was ‘appalled and shocked’ by the death of Dawn Sturgess.
The woman’s family has been informed and is receiving support from the police.
A post-mortem will be scheduled to take place in due course.
The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network and around 100 detectives are working round the clock alongside colleagues from Wiltshire police.
“The Metropolitan police have revealed Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley’s movements in the 48 hours before they were hospitalised on June 30″/>
The Metropolitan police have revealed Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley’s movements in the 48 hours before they were hospitalised on June 30
How could the new Novichok victims have been poisoned 4 months after attack?
A friend of Dawn Sturgess and Charles Rowley said she believes the couple found a vial and needle and believed it was heroin.
In fact the syringe could have been used by the assassins sent to kill the Skripals and used it because it was small and easy to spray on Sergei’s front door.
A former neighbour of Dawn Sturgess said she would pick up discarded cigarettes to bolster her own tobacco tin.
He said: ‘If she’s been collecting fag ends up to build up a stash of tobacco, she could have smoked the poison. Lots of people collect half smoked cigarettes – if that’s what got the spy and he’s chucked it down somewhere – Dawn could have picked it up.’
Police are also likely to be investigating claims that the couple may have found a bag and taken it away.
Inside that bag may have been the vial or syringe containing the Novichok.
Head of UK Counter Terrorism policing Neil Basu said: ‘This is shocking and tragic news.
‘Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.
‘The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well.
‘This terrible news has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act.
‘Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life.
‘Dawn’s family has asked the media to kindly respect their privacy at this difficult time.’
He has previously hit out at her treatment, saying she is not being dealt with as a priority, like the Skripals, because she is a ‘nobody alcoholic’.
Wiltshire Police is now dealing with the second major investigation involving the deadly nerve agent this year, after the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.
Salisbury District Hospital also treated Mr Skripal, 67, his daughter Yulia, 33, as well as police officer Nick Bailey, who fell ill after he came to assist them.
All three eventually survived, with Mr Skripal the last to leave hospital, on May 18.
“Forensic investigators wear protective suits at John Baker House in Salisbury, Wiltshire, a homeless shelter where Dawn Sturgess lived”/>
Forensic investigators wear protective suits at John Baker House in Salisbury, Wiltshire, a homeless shelter where Dawn Sturgess lived
“A camouflage tent has been put up behind the house where Mr Rowley lives and the home is now being scoured by experts”/>
A camouflage tent has been put up behind the house where Mr Rowley lives and the home is now being scoured by experts
Lab tests confirming the couple were struck by the military grade nerve agent plunged Salisbury back into crisis. Hundreds of police, security and public health officials, are swarming across the city.
Investigators are urgently trying to retrace the steps of the ill-fated couple last Friday as they shopped and relaxed in Queen Elizabeth Gardens. The park, along with a city hostel and an address in Amesbury, seven miles away, are completely sealed off. Police also locked down a Baptist church and a branch of Boots where Mr Rowley picked up a prescription after it is feared he was exposed.
Both victims had collapsed, hallucinating and foaming at the mouth, on Saturday. Officers suspected they may have consumed a ‘bad batch’ of heroin but two days later blood tests at Porton Down confirmed they too have been in contact with novichok.