Skripal poisoning, it was on the door

When Teresa May said in Parliament, “It is now clear that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. This is part of a group of nerve agents known as ‘Novichok’.”  Fingers were pointed at Russia as they have a history of using novel methods to assassinate people, Alexander Litvinenko is a case in point, it sends a message.

There is a lot of speculation about the exact nature of Novichok (новичок, “newcomer” or “newbie”) nerve agents.  Nerve agents are organophosphate based poisons designed to stop the enzyme acetylcholinesterase from working. It is the ‘off’ switch for a nerve and if you can’t turn a nerve off, your body loses control of all functions.

Novichock’s are very persistent agents, undetectable using standard equipment and they give off little or no vapour, so are designed to be absorbed through the skin.  Easy for an assassin to apply, virtually impossible for the authorities to detect.

What has yet to be confirmed by the police is exactly where the Skripal’s or Det Sgt Bailey were contaminated and how long it took from contamination to collapse. Nerve agents are extremely toxic and the absorption of a minute quantity, less than a grain of sugar’s worth, could prove lethal.

They can be applied to any surface by rubbing it with anything contaminated and an assassin would choose a surface they knew the victim would touch, like a door handle.  That would require some prior knowledge of the victim’s behaviour, so the Skripal’s were probably watched.

Once contaminated, cross-contamination is easy, holding hands or lifting a contaminated object such as a drinks menu would be enough. An assassin could transport their lethal cargo in a sealed small container with pre-contaminated wipes or a pre-made-up liquid or gel.

Nerve agents are designed to incapacitate quickly. The time from contamination to showing symptoms depends on many factors including, how much has got on the skin, its absorption rate through the skin and the size of the victim.  Large doses could be lethal in minutes, smaller doses may take a few hours.

The shocking contamination of three children through touching bread given by Sergei Skripal to feed the ducks shows just how easy it is to get contaminated and how minute an exposure is needed to cause symptoms. It also tells that Sergi Skripals’ hands were contaminated.

This was first exposed by @SelbyMirror in the Sunday Mirror on 25th March where I provided comment. Its a pity his insghts were not acted on on Sunday!

We need to know where the assassin and the container they transported the agent to the Skripal’s is now?

Note: This blog is written by Philip Ingram MBE, a former British Army Intelligence Offficer who was based near Salisbury in the past. If you would like any further comment from Philip, please contact him by clicking HERE