'Gentle soul': Family pays tribute to Briton killed by Novichok

Investigators believe Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times the amount of nerve agent as the Skripals came into contact with

The family of a British woman who died after being exposed to the same nerve agent that poisoned a Russian ex-spy four months ago remembered her as "a gentle soul" on Tuesday.

Relatives of Dawn Sturgess, who died in the southwest English city of Salisbury on Sunday from contact with the Soviet-era military-grade toxin Novichok, said they were devastated at their loss.

"Dawn will always be remembered by us as a gentle soul who was generous to a fault," they said in a statement released through local police.

"She would do anything for anybody and those who knew Dawn would know that she would gladly give her last penny to somebody in need.

"She had the biggest of hearts and she will be dreadfully missed by both her immediate and wider family."

British police have launched a murder inquiry following her death, which came after the same type of chemical was used in a March attack against a former Russian spy and his daughter

The pair survived the attack, which sparked dozens of diplomatic expulsions by Western allies on the one side and Russia on the other, as relations plunged to their lowest ebb in decades.

Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, fell ill on June 30 in the town of Amesbury, near Salisbury where former double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia had been targeted.

Sturgess later died at Salisbury District Hospital, where Rowley remains in critically ill condition.

Counter-terrorism investigators have said they will be led by the evidence, but have confirmed a link between the Amesbury poisoning and the Salisbury attack was a main line of inquiry.

Britain's defence minister has pointed the finger at Russia over the death.

"The simple reality is that Russia has committed an attack on British soil which has seen the death of a British citizen," Gavin Williamson said Monday.

Moscow has angrily denied any involvement in either poisoning.

In its statement, Sturgess's family asked people to "stop speculating" about the case.

"We now need time and space to grieve and would also ask that people stop speculating about Dawn and what has happened," it added.

The statement, which thanked police, health workers and the local community, added: "Our thoughts and prayers also go out to Charlie and his family and we wish Charlie a speedy recovery."

Dawn Sturgess died in the southwest English city of Salisbury on Sunday from contact with the Soviet-era military-grade toxin Novichok