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Poisoned Russian spy's red BMW now focus of investigation as police appeal for witnesses to come forward

Mirror logo Mirror 13/03/2018 Rachel Bishop

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 (Video provided by ITN News)

A red BMW belonging to poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal is now part of the focus of the investigation.

The UK's head of counter-terrorism policing revealed the latest detail of the investigation, which he said could still take "many weeks".

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe Speaking at Scotland Yard, Neil Basu explained that the investigators' "prime focus" is how the poison was administered in the attack against Mr Skripal 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Police are also focusing on Mr Skripal's red BMW, and appealing for any witnesses who had seen the Russian pair in the car between 1pm and 1.45pm to come forward.

a person standing next to a bus: Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS Mr Basu said that a total of 38 people had been seen by medics in relation to the incident, of whom 34 had been assessed and discharged from hospital.

Three people remain in hospital - the Skripals and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey - and one other unnamed person is being monitored as an outpatient, but is not showing signs of exposure to Novichok.

a bus parked in front of a building: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe He also revealed that Yulia Skripal arrived into the UK at Heathrow Airport at 2.40pm on March 3 on a plane from Russia.

Mr Basu said: "Hundreds of officers continue to work around the clock gathering evidence to identify those responsible for what is a reckless, despicable and targeted attack."

a man wearing a uniform: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe He said the pair "remain in a critical condition after having been exposed to a military grade nerve agent on UK soil."

He said he understood that DS Bailey - who fell ill after rushing to their aid - was "making good progress" in hospital.

He added: "We are of course getting many questions on where the nerve agent was administered. I can't comment on that at this time."

He confirmed the following timeline of events:

Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe He added: "I can confirm that we have identified the nerve agent and that has enabled the authorities to assess and help mitigate the risks attached to it.

"The latest assessments reveal that 38 people have been seen in relation to the incident.

"Of those, 34 have been assessed and I make this clear discharged from hospital.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe "Three remain in hospital - and one person continues to be assessed as an outpatient."

He said they are checking CCTV and have assessed "380 exhibits so far."

Appealing for further information, he added: "In particular I am appealing for anyone who saw Sergei and Yuliain Sergei's car - which is a red BMW with the registration HD09 WAO - in the Salisbury area between approx 1pm and 1.45pm on Sunday, March 3."

(Video provided by Reuters)

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The latest details on the case were released as Russia denied it had any involvement in the case.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claims Britain has denied Moscow's request to access to materials related to the ongoing investigation.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the attack.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP But Mr Lavrov denied allegations that the nerve agent came from Russia and said President Vladimir Putin's government has no connection to the poisoning.

He told reporters: "Russia is not guilty."

The UK ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, according to reports out of Moscow.

Sergey Lavrov wearing a suit and tie: Credits: REUTERS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: REUTERS Putin's government faces a midnight deadline to explain how a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union was used to poison the Skripals in a UK city.

Mr Lavrov said Moscow requested access to all aspects of the investigation because Ms Ms Skripal, who lives in the capital, is Russian citizen.

a woman standing in a field: Credits: AFP © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: AFP Mrs May said the Skripals were poisoned by a substance that was part of the Novichok group of nerve agents which were developed by the Soviet military during the 1970s and 1980s.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the Prime Minister's allegations were politically motivated.

a group of people looking at the camera: Credits: PA © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: PA She told Russia's TASS state news agency: "It is a circus show in the British parliament. The conclusion is obvious: It's another political information campaign, based on a provocation."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has welcomed international support over the poisoning as the deadline for Russia to provide a "convincing explanation" creeps closer.

France, Germany and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all gave their backing to the UK.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Mr Skripal, a former spy who betrayed Moscow, and his daughter have been in a critical condition since they were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre more than a week ago.

Novichok nerve agents are believed to be five to 10 times more lethal than VX and Sarin.

They cause the heart to slow down and restrict the airways, leading to death by asphyxiation.

Mr Skripal was a former Russian military intelligence colonel who became an MI6 informant and betrayed dozens of Russian agents.

(Video provided by Wochit News)

He was arrested in Moscow in 2004 and sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006.

In 2010, he was granted refuge in the UK, where he settled in Salisbury, after he was pardoned by Russia and exchanged in a Cold-War spy swap between Moscow and Washington.

Mr Skripal and his daughter visited a Zizzi restaurant and the Bishop's Mill pub the afternoon they were found poisoned on a bench in Salisbury city centre.

a group of people walking down a street: Credits: Daily Mirror © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Daily Mirror Public Health England has distributed a leaflet advising people who were at the restaurant or pub on March 4 or 5 to wash the clothing they were wearing and wipe phones, handbags or other items they had with them.

It said: "While there is no immediate health risk to anyone who may have been in either of these locations, it is possible, but unlikely, that any of the substance which has come into contact with clothing or belongings could still be present in minute amounts and therefore contaminate your skin.

a man and a woman walking down a street: Credits: Getty Images Europe © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty Images Europe "Over time, repeated skin contact with contaminated items may pose a small risk to health. This risk can be removed by taking the actions we are explaining in this leaflet.

"You do not need to seek advice from a health professional unless you are experiencing symptoms."

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