Amesbury novichok victim's brother says nerve agent was 'found in perfume bottle'

Police forensic tents can be seen to the rear of John Baker House after it was confirmed that two people had been poisoned with the nerve-agent Novichok in Amesbury

Matthew Rowley told BBC News that his 45-year-old brother Charlie, who is conscious but seriously ill in hospital, told him he had picked up the perfume bottle.

British police say search teams have found over 400 items as part of the investigation into the poisoning of two Britons by the nerve agent Novichok - but searches will likely take many more weeks as officers seek further evidence.

Detectives confirmed Friday that a small bottle found in Rowley's home contained Novichok.

PA Wire/PA Images Dawn Sturgess.

A bottle found at Charlie Rowley's Amesbury house was tested by scientists at Porton Down, the Met Police said.

"However, we can not guarantee that there isn't any more of the substance left", said Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing.

Counter-terror detectives are trying to establish where the bottle came from and how it came to be in Rowley's home.

"However, we can not guarantee that there isn't any more of the substance left and cordons will remain in place for some considerable time", he added.

Ms Sturgess, who lived in a homeless hostel, died on 8 July.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died this month, just over a week after she was exposed to Novichok near the city of Salisbury where Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were struck down with the same poison in March.

The United Kingdom has invited independent chemical-weapons experts to visit next week and independently confirm the nerve agent suspected in the case.

The discovery of the bottle comes as the Foreign Office announced independent chemical weapons experts would arrive in the United Kingdom next week to assist with the investigation.

The samples will be analysed at "highly reputable global laboratories designated by the OPCW", a spokesman said.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard also called the discovery "significant".

He said private security guards would join officers on some of the cordons from next week, as the investigation continued. Rowley is still hospitalized, but has regained consciousness. The police commenting on the incident, urged the public not to panic, as a threat to the health and lives of people yet.

"If you didn't drop it, then don't pick it up", officials said on Friday.

An autopsy is expected to be performed on Sturgess' body this coming Tuesday, and the inquest into her death is "set to open and adjourn in Salisbury on Thursday".

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