Sometimes, life is stranger than fiction. In a tale that would give Le Carre a run for his money, there have been a string of poisonings in sleepy Wiltshire – the last place one would imagine the use of Soviet-era military-grade nerve agents to be deployed.
The father and daughter were found slumped on a bench in the town, with spectators assuming they were on illegal drugs. Since the poisoning, Sergi and Julia Skripal have recovered, but only after spending extended periods of time in a coma, and being held in intensive care.
The incident in March sparked a diplomatic row between Russia and the United Kingdom, resulting in the UK expelling a number of Russian diplomats.
44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and her boyfriend 45-year-old Charlie Crowley, were rushed to hospital on Saturday after reports of them acting in a ‘zombie-like’ way.
The couple still remain in a critical condition, and are being treated in the Sailsbury District Hospital, the exact same location that the Skripals were treated.
Despite a number of poignant similarities between the cases, police still haven’t got to the bottom of either of them. In an attempt to untangle truth from fiction, we’ve compiled a useful list of what we do and don’t know about the cases.
What we do know.
The poisoned couple have been identified as 45-year-old Charlie Rowley and his 44-year-old girlfriend Dawn Sturgess.
Dawn was rushed to hospital 10:15am Saturday after she collapsed at her home on Muggleton Road. Later on the same day, paramedics called back at the same location when a man, now known to be Rowley, was also taken ill.
The couple are being treated in the same hospital that the Skripals were treated in, Sailsbury District Hospital, where they remain in a critical condition.
The pair were poisoned with the exact same nerve agent as the Skripals - Novichok, a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent.
Police know the couple's movements on Saturday, and have cordoned off all the locations that they visited: Amesbury Baptist Church; a Boots pharmacy in Amesbury; Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury; the John Baker House in Salisbury, a supported living facility; and the property on Muggleton Road.