Russia spy latest: Traces of nerve agent 'found at Zizzi' as police identify over 200 witnesses


Police investigating the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter have reportedly found traces of the chemical weapon at the Zizzi restaurant the pair dined at before falling ill. 

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, are said to have eaten there in the hours before they became ill.

The eatery was hidden from view behind hoardings on Saturday as officers returned to search for evidence. 

No-one else who was at the Italian restaurant at the time is thought to be at risk, according to the BBC, which originally reported the story, nor has it been suggested their fellow diners had any thing to do with the suspected attack. 

Police have identified more than 200 witnesses and are looking at more than 240 pieces of evidence in the investigation into the attack on, the Home Secretary said.

Amber Rudd said Nick Bailey, a police officer who became unwell after taking part in the early response to the attack, remained seriously ill but was talking and engaging with his family. 

Mr Bailey released a statement from hospital saying “he does not consider himself a hero” and was “merely doing his job”.

Sergei Skripal: Forensic police inspect cemetery in Salisbury in connection with Russian spy poisoning case

The Ministry of Defence said armed forces personnel would be returning to Salisbury for a third day on Sunday.

Cordons remain in place at a host of locations across the city, including Mr Skripal’s house and the cemetery where his wife and son are buried.

There was further police activity at the London Road cemetery on Saturday, where officers in hazmat suits had removed items and covered his son’s memorial stone with a forensic tent.

Scotland Yard said no exhumations had taken place.


Barriers erected outside a Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury as police and members of the armed forces probe the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Speaking following a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, Ms Rudd said there were more than 250 officers from eight out of 11 of the country’s counter-terrorism units involved in the investigation.

She said: “I want to stress that they are proceeding with speed and professionalism. We are putting in enormous resources to ensure that they have all the support that they need to do that.”

Ms Rudd said it was still too early to say who was responsible for the attack.

She said: “This investigation is focused on making sure that we keep people safe and also that we collect all the evidence so that when it comes to attribution [of the attack] we will be absolutely clear where it should be.

“The police have said that if anybody thinks they have any additional information they would welcome them coming forward.

“There is also substantial amounts of CCTV they have to go through. This is a painstaking, detailed investigation and the police need to be given the space and time to get on with it.”

Many in British media and politics have speculated Russia could have played a part in the attack on Mr Skripal, but Ms Rudd reiterated that it was too early to say who was responsible, and police should be given the time and space to determine the facts.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the incident and accused the British media of whipping up anti-Russian hysteria.

Mr Skripal and his daughter are still fighting for their lives in hospital.


Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equiptment cover an ambulance with a tarpaulin at the Salisbury District Hospital in Salisbury (AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Bailey, who was part of the initial response by authorities and also remains in hospital, released a statement thanking people for their support.

The statement read: “Nick would like us to say on his behalf that he and his family are hugely grateful for all the messages of support from the public, and colleagues from the police family. People have been so kind and he has expressed that he will never forget that kindness.

“He also wishes to say that he was part of a group of officers and other emergency service colleagues who dealt with the initial incident.

“He wants to say that he does not consider himself a ‘hero’, he states he was merely doing his job – a job he loves and is immensely proud of – just like all of his other dedicated colleagues do, day in day out, in order to protect the public and keep people safe.

“He would like to thank everyone once again for all of their kind thoughts and best wishes, they are truly appreciated.

“He asks respectfully that the media allow his family privacy at this difficult time.”


Members of the Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment, at Winterbourne Gunner, conducting final preparation and training before deploying in support of the civil authorities in Salisbury (EPA)

Police said 21 people had been seen for medical treatment since the incident.

The figure includes members of the public and emergency staff, some of whom have had blood tests as well as receiving support and advice.

The attack is being treated as attempted murder.

Additional reporting by agencies

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