In Brief

Dawn Sturgess funeral: how mourners will be protected from novichok exposure

Nerve agent victim will be buried without pallbearers after funeral directors take advice from Public Health England

The funeral of Dawn Sturgess, the 44-year-old mother of three who died of exposure to novichok earlier this month, will take place today, with special measures to protect mourners from coming into contact with the nerve agent.

The funeral directors took advice from Public Health England (PHE) on how to prevent exposure.

Rev Philip Bromiley, who will be officiating, said Sturgess would be buried without pallbearers and her coffin will already be in place when mourners arrive, reports the BBC.

However, PHE emphasised that the risk to the public was low.

“The message I received is that there are certain measures in place to make sure the service will be as safe as possible,” Bromiley said.

“The service will be a celebration of Sturgess’s life, giving thanks for the really loving and giving person she was.

“The theme will be peace – peace for her family, for her friends and the city of Salisbury, and the surrounding towns and villages affected by the chaotic last few months.”

The poisoning of Sturgess came four months after the case of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Sturgess and her partner, Charlie Rowley, were found unconscious on a park bench and were taken to hospital, from where Rowley was discharged on 20 July.

Sturgess will be cremated in Salisbury, close to where Skripal’s wife and son were laid to rest, according to the The Daily Telegraph.

“It is part and parcel of the advice to make sure everyone attending is as safe as possible,” Bromiley added. “I have every confidence that Public Health England and the crematorium know what they are doing.

“I will be hoping that that peace won’t just be for the family but for the city and that we will be able to return to a sense of normality. Hopefully businesses will grow in confidence and be rejuvenated and we will be able to get back to how we were.”

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