THE sister of an RAF engineer who suffered a gruesome death after being poisoned by sarin has relived her family’s horror in light of the recent Salisbury Novichok death.
Ronald Maddison, believed to be the only other person in the UK to die from a nerve agent, was exposed to the deadly gas by government scientists in an attempt to discover how the human body reacted to the deadly chemical.
PA:Press Association Ronald Maddison was exposed to sarin by government scientists investigating the affects of the chemical
Now with the death of Dawn Sturgess in Salisbury due to being exposed to Novichok, as well as the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Maddison’s family have relived their horror.
Back in 1953 Maddison, 20, volunteered for a programme at Porton Down chemical weapons base in Wiltshire, believing he was helping find a cure for the common cold.
Ronald’s sister Lillias Craik, from Mansfield, Notts, said: “When I heard what happened in Salisbury with these poor people, it did bring it all back. It’s disgusting they are even still making this kind of stuff.
“My Ronnie was a lovely lad. Everybody had a good word for him. The whole thing was a horrible experience.”
Facebook Dawn Sturgess was accidentally exposed to Novichok in Salisbury
An initial inquest was held in secret “in the interests of national security” which recorded a verdict of misadventure.
After a lengthy campaign and a police inquiry a new inquest was ordered.
In 2004 it ruled that Maddison had been unlawfully killed due to “application of a nerve agent in a non-therapeutic experiment”.
He had been exposed to 200mg of sarin and died in horrific circumstances just 45 minutes later.
Alfred Thornhill, an ambulance driver from Salford, who had been transferred to Porton Down, was one of the few people to see him die.
East2west News Yulia and her father Sergei Skripal have recovered from the initial Novichok attack
He told the coroner: “I had never seen anyone die before and what that lad went through was absolutely horrific.
“It was like he was being electrocuted, his whole body was convulsing.
“I have seen somebody suffer an epileptic fit but you’ve never seen anything like what happened to that lad.
“The skin was vibrating and there was all this terrible stuff coming out of his mouth…it looked like frogspawn or tapioca. You could see the panic in the [medics’] eyes. One guy looked as if he was trying to hold his head down.
“I saw his leg rise up from the bed and I saw his skin begin turning blue.
“It started from the ankle and started spreading up his leg. It was like watching somebody pouring a blue liquid into a glass, it just began filling up. I was standing by the bed gawping.
“It was like watching something from outer space and then a doctor produced the biggest needle I had ever seen.
“It was the size of a bicycle pump and went down on to the lad’s body. The sister saw me gawping and told me to get out.”
While Dawn Sturgess succumbed to Novichok poisoning on Sunday, her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, is still critically ill in hospital.
Cops believe they have now found the bottle of Novichok after police scoured Rowley’s property.