Detectives in Hazmat suits descended on the cemetery where the wife and son of poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal are buried to remove items from their graves and decide whether or not they will exhume a body.
The graveyard became the focus of the investigation after it emerged Skripal’s wife Liudmila and son Alexander both passed away in recent years. Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, are still fighting for their lives in hospital after being attacked with a deadly nerve agent in Salisbury.
Skripal’s wife Liudmila was buried in 2012 and the ashes of his son Alexander were flown to the UK last year after he died from apparent liver failure while in Russia.
Skripal and his daughter are thought to have visited the graves after she flew to the UK from her home in Moscow days before she and her father were poisoned.
Protected police officers, fire crews and ambulances swarmed the cemetery, eventually taking flowers and trinkets from the Skripal gravesides and taking them by military convoy to Salisbury District Hospital.
It is not clear whether detectives plan to exhume Mrs Skripal’s body, but sources say they have not ruled it out and could carry out forensic testing at a later stage.
The hospital declared a major incident after the nerve agent attack unfolded on Sunday and has been used to examine Skripal’s car and the police vehicle Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also poisoned, was in. A convoy carrying Sgt Bailey’s car has since been seen leaving the hospital.
With suspicions over the attack on the double agent falling on Russia, a massive investigation has been launched supported by Scotland Yard anti-terror experts and around 180 Army troops.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd is due to chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee tomorrow as the investigation into the nerve agent attack deepens.