Suspected perpetrators of Skripal novichok attack identified

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found collapsed on a bench in March

Suspected perpetrators of Skripal novichok attack identified

Picture by: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

Police in the UK believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

The 66-year-old and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were attacked with the nerve agent at their home in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

The pair were rushed to hospital after shoppers found them collapsed on a bench on March 4th.

Both survived the attack and were discharged from Salisbury District Hospital after extensive treatment.

Officers believe several Russians were involved in the attempted murder and say they are looking for more than one suspect.

"Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time," a source close to the investigation said told the Press Association.

They said investigators were "sure" the suspects were Russian.

Scotland Yard, which is spearheading the investigation, declined to comment.

Yulia Skripal, the daughter of Russian spy Sergei Skripal, has said that she wants to return to her country despite being poisoned with a nerve agent, Reuters news agency reports | Image: Dylan Martinez/PA Wire/PA Images

In an analysis of samples taken from the Skripals' home, the highest concentrations of the toxic chemical was found on door handles.

The breakthrough comes as an inquest is due to open on Thursday for Dawn Sturgess.

She and her partner Charlie Rowley, both from Amesbury which is situated about eight miles north of Salisbury, fell victim to novichok believed to be from the same batch as that used to target the Skripals.

Ms Sturgess (44) died earlier this month - eight days after being exposed to 10 times the amount of nerve agent the former spy and his daughter came into contact with.

Investigators believe the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle that the couple found in a park, the source said, adding that Ms Sturgess likely sprayed the substance directly onto her skin.

Mr Rowley (45) survived the incident and is still being treated in hospital.

More than 400 exhibits, samples and items have been recovered by police investigating the poisoning of Mr Rowley and Ms Sturgess.

The British government has said it believes the Russian state was behind the attack on the Skripals.

Vladimir Putin and other senior Russian politicians have continued to deny any involvement in the poisonings.