It has been revealed today that the two suspects connected to the Salisbury attack arrived in the UK via Gatwick airport.
In a Statement by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing, in relation to the Salisbury and Amesbury Investigation, he said:
“It is likely that they were travelling under aliases and that these are not their real names. We would like to hear from anyone who knows them. We are releasing these photographs of them, from the travel documents they used to enter the country.
“We’d also like to hear from anyone who saw them while they were in the UK between Friday, 2 March and Sunday, 4 March. We are particularly interested in establishing as much as possible about their movements during the period 2pm to 4.30pm on Saturday, 3 March, and 11.30am to 2pm on Sunday, 4 March.
“At 3pm on Friday, 2 March, the suspects arrived at Gatwick airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588.
“From there it is believed that they travelled by train into London, arriving at Victoria station at approximately 5.40pm.
“They then travelled on London public transport to Waterloo station and were in the area between approximately 6pm and 7pm. They travelled to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, East London, where they stayed on Friday, 2 March, and Saturday, 3 March.”
A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said:
“Public Health England has confirmed that there are no health risks for passengers or airport workers at Gatwick related to the journey taken by the individuals involved in this incident.
This includes those passengers and staff who were at the airport on the day of the Aeroflot flight landing or in the subsequent period.
We are of course assisting the police as required.”
Crawley MP Henry Smith said on hearing the news:
“UK Government confirmation that the Novichok nerve agent used by Russian agents to try and murder former spy and his daughter, the Skripals, in Salisbury last March, entered the UK via Gatwick is very disturbing.
That fact that my constituents’ who work at the airport could potentially have been exposed to such a deadly agent demonstrates the reckless contempt Putin’s government in Moscow has for ordinary people.
I’m grateful for being informed by the Prime Minister and I’ll be seeking how Crawley Borough Council intend to follow matters up further as local authority responsible for port health in law.”
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury city centre at 4.15pm on Sunday, 4 March, after being poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent.
Both Sergei and Yulia spent weeks critically ill in hospital but are now making a good recovery.
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, a Wiltshire police officer, was also seriously ill after being exposed to the nerve agent. He continues to make good progress but remains off work.
Tragically 44-year-old mother of three, Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on Saturday, 8 July. She fell ill on 30 June after being exposed to Novichok and she never regained consciousness. Her partner, 48-year-old Charlie Rowley, was also exposed to the nerve agent and became seriously ill later that day. He received treatment at Salisbury District Hospital over three weeks.
Gatwick Airport staff who assist passengers suspend strike
Two planned 48 hour stoppages involving Gatwick airport workers which were set to start tomorrow (Tuesday 20 November) and Monday 26 November have been suspended while workers vote on a revised pay offer, the Unite union announced today (Monday 19 November).
The workers, employed by the logistics giant Wilson James, provide assistance to passengers with disabilities and those who need help getting around Gatwick airport.
The dispute centres on a demand for a £1 an hour pay rise. Those assisting disabled passengers are paid just £8.27 per hour.
Workers will now vote on whether to accept or reject a revised offer with voting closing on Monday 10 December. A third planned 48-hour stoppage on 21/23 December is set to go ahead should members reject the offer and the pay dispute remains unresolved.
Commenting Unite regional officer Jamie Major said:
“The two 48 hour stoppages in November have been suspended while members vote on whether to accept or reject a new pay offer from Wilson James.
“The last thing our members want is to cause inconvenience and distress to those passengers who rely on their services during their time at Gatwick.
“However, should they reject the new pay offer and no resolution to the dispute is found, then the possibility of a 48 hour strike in December remains live.”