Trash bins being tested for poison in UK nerve agent probe

LONDON — British police sent two garbage bins to a defense research laboratory Thursday for testing as they probed the nerve-agent poisoning that killed one British woman and sickened her partner.

London's Metropolitan Police force said the trash cans were removed from behind shops in the city of Salisbury, 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of London. The move follows conversations between detectives and 45-year-old Charlie Rowley, who is recovering from the June poisoning. His partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, died on July 8, just over a week after the pair were exposed to the nerve agent Novichok.

British police think the couple accidently found and handled a bottle containing the military-grade nerve agent.

Rowley has told broadcaster ITV that Sturgess sprayed an oily liquid from the bottle on her wrists, thinking it was perfume, and collapsed minutes later. He said he got some of the substance on his hands but washed it off fairly quickly.

The same Soviet-developed toxin was used to attack former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March. They spent weeks hospitalized in critical condition and are now recovering in a secret location for their own protection.

Britain blames the Russian government for the attack on the Skripals, a claim Moscow denies. Their poisoning ignited a diplomatic confrontation in which hundreds of envoys were expelled by both Russia and Western nations.

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