Thursday 19 April 2018

Investigation into nerve agent attack 'may take months' - police

A vehicle of interest wrapped in blue tarpaulin is removed from Larkhill Road in Durrington, Salisbury, on the back of an Army lorry, as the investigation into the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia continues. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
A vehicle of interest wrapped in blue tarpaulin is removed from Larkhill Road in Durrington, Salisbury, on the back of an Army lorry, as the investigation into the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia continues. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The investigation into the Salisbury nerve agent attack could take months, a senior police officer has said.

Assistant Commissioner for Counter Terrorism at the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu told the BBC: "This is going to be frustrating for people. It is going to take weeks, possibly months to do this.

"We are up to around 400 statements. We have got more statements to take. We are nearly at 800 exhibits and 4,000 hours of closed circuit television footage."

Asked if the police focus was on the car involved in the case, Mr Basu said: "Our focus is on the movements of the Skripals, so we are open-minded and will follow that evidence wherever it takes us.

"It's frustrating, I know, but it's painstaking work and I would just like to pay tribute to the people who are working day and night."

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's stance on the Skripal case, telling LBC radio: "He would leave our country at risk, not because he is a bad man at all, but because what he fundamentally believes is dangerous to the security of the nation.

"His position is essentially to give the benefit of the doubt to Russia and to raise hares running, as his spokesman did, about our own security services, which I think is an extraordinary thing to have done."

As 23 expelled Russian diplomats were due to leave the UK, on Tuesday people could be seen heading towards a white coach parked inside the gated Kensington Palace Gardens complex in London close to the Russian Embassy.

Hugging each other, holding children, pet carriers, suitcases and bags, at just after 10am a number of individuals left in a procession of vehicles including three cars, five people carriers and two small-sized coaches.

One woman could be seen filming the media which had gathered outside from front seat of a vehicle, as children could be seen excitedly looking out of the window of a coach as it pulled on to the main road.

On Friday the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, reportedly said the 23 diplomats and their families - some 80 people - would leave Britain on March 20.

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