'The Salisbury Poisonings': Who was Dawn Sturgess and how her death sent shockwaves across her entire town

A 44-year-old mother, Dawn Sturgess, was poisoned on June 30, 2018, in Amesbury by the same nerve agent that was used in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury


                            'The Salisbury Poisonings': Who was Dawn Sturgess and how her death sent shockwaves across her entire town
(BBC)
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When Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury with the highly contagious nerve agent Novichok, they were left to die in the middle of Salisbury in Wiltshire. What follows is a high-stakes battle with desperate attempts to contain the spread of the lethal substance — a spoonful of which can kill thousands of people.

As the Wiltshire police and public health authorities race against time to keep their land and people safe from the horrifying effects of the nerve agent, it looked like they cannot control everything. 

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In BBC's 'The Salisbury Poisonings', which is now streaming in the US on AMC+, Tracy Daszkiewicz (Anne-Marie Duff) is the person at the centre of the public health crisis who manages to work things out without casualties that will harm not only her career but also her conscious. However, some things were simply out of control. 

Almost four months after Sergei and Yulia Skripal's poisoning, life in Salisbury inches closer to normalcy. Although day to day life will no longer remain the same for most, the locals try to adapt and go about their lives in the best possible way that they can. That is until the poison returns to haunt them.  

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A 44-year-old mother, Dawn Sturgess (played by MyAnna Buring), was poisoned on June 30, 2018, in Amesbury by the same nerve agent that was used in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. Sturgess is found unconscious and rushed to the hospital from her residence in Amesbury. Shortly afterwards, Sturgess' partner Charlie Rowley also falls ill and paramedics are called to the rescue. 

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At first, medical professionals look at this as a case of a drug overdose. But the discovery of the poison is only made later. Now here is the trickiest part that authorities could not get a hold of — Amesbury is eight miles (13 km) away from Salisbury and Dawn and Charlie's poisonings happen four months after the predecessor.

After a week of struggling between life and death, Sturgess died at Salisbury District Hospital after doctors took the decision to switch off her life support. Two days later, Rowley regained consciousness and there was a "small but significant improvement to his condition", according to the hospital. It was he who informed the police that they found the poison in a perfume or aftershave bottle.

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According to BBC News, the "most likely hypothesis" was that the Novichok was leftover from the attack on the Skripals and that the contaminated item which poisoned the couple "could be a vial or syringe because of the couple's lifestyle", as it is believed the Novichok was disposed of "in a haphazard way". Rowley was known among friends for frequently scavenging recycled bins eventually meeting their fate. 

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A still from the show (BBC)

Who was Dawn Sturgess?

Over the course of the four episodes of 'The Salisbury Poisonings', we follow Dawn as she basically tries to gain control of her life. It is understood that Sturgess had a bad tryst with alcohol and that had her youngest daughter was living with her parents. She would only meet her daughter some times. At the time, she had rocky relationships with most of her family, including her father. 

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When she died, there were a lot of things in her life that were going wrong. And Sturgess was leaving no stone unturned to make a change in her life. Her fate, however, had other unfortunate plans. The four-part drama premieres on AMC+ on Thursday, October 1, 2020. 

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