Safety measures in place for funeral of novichok victim

Safety measures in place for funeral of novichok victim

Dawn Sturgess. Image: PA

Monday, July 30, 2018

Safety measures are in place to protect mourners at the funeral of novichok murder victim Dawn Sturgess.

The mother-of-three will be cremated in Salisbury on Monday, close to where Russian former spy Sergei Skripal's wife and son were laid to rest.

Reverend Philip Bromiley, who will be leading the service, said the funeral directors have been working with Public Health England (PHE) and the crematorium to put measures in place to make sure everything is as safe as possible.

"One of the things that it will entail is there won't be any pallbearers and the coffin will be in situ before we arrive, so obviously there's probably been precautions around that and the coffin itself," he told the Press Association.

"I have got every confidence in the powers that be that they know what they're doing."

'Low risk' to public

PHE would not comment on the funeral but a spokeswoman repeated the general advice to the public that the risk remains "low".

Ms Sturgess died aged 44 on July 8 after she and her partner Charlie Rowley both fell ill after coming into contact with Novichok at the end of June.

Mr Rowley, 45, said the deadly nerve agent took just 15 minutes to poison Ms Sturgess after she sprayed the "oily" substance on to her wrists believing it was perfume he had given her as a gift.

Read more: What is novichok?

Rev Bromiley said he had heard Mr Rowley, who was discharged from hospital earlier this month, would be going to the service, which he hoped would be well attended.

He said he had been working with her mother and father to plan the funeral, while Ms Sturgess's daughter had chosen the first hymn, Shalom Shalom.

"That hymn has set the tone for the whole service," he said.

"We will be wanting to do two things. One is to celebrate Dawn's life, and two, really give thanks for the person that Dawn was because she was a really kind, loving, generous person and I think the family are really keen that that comes across in the service.

"But also, we want to pray that shalom, that peace, will come and permeate through the service and help everyone who's at the service, and also pray for peace for the family, for the city and for everybody involved."

Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess were victims of the second nerve agent incident in four months following the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury in March.