LONDON — A coroner Thursday opened an inquest into the death of a British woman who was exposed to a military grade nerve agent, while British media said police may have identified suspects in an attack that poisoned a former Russian spy with the same deadly substance.

Senior coroner David Ridley led a brief hearing on the death of Dawn Sturgess, but said the official cause won’t be given until further tests are completed. He adjourned the proceedings until January to allow time for police inquiries to continue.

Sturgess, 44, and partner Charlie Rowley, 45, collapsed on June 30. Police said they had come into contact with a small bottle containing Novichok, a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The pair was contaminated in the town of Amesbury in southwestern England, not far from the city of Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in March. Rowley and the Skripals survived, but Sturgess died July 8.

Britain blames Russia’s government for the March attack, a claim Moscow strongly denies. British police are working under the theory that the cases are linked.

Britain’s Press Association cited an unnamed person with knowledge of the investigation as saying that police believe they have identified “several Russians” as the perpetrators of the March attack.

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