Woman in Salisbury nerve attack scare ‘not involved in hoax’

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A woman who was taken to hospital with her husband after a nerve agent scare at a Salisbury restaurant has said she was not involved in a hoax and her fears were genuine.

Anna Shapiro and her husband Alex King were taken to hospital after apparently becoming ill at the Prezzo Italian restaurant on Sunday.

Emergency services declared a major incident and the restaurant and surrounding area were sealed off, in scenes reminiscent of the nerve agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in March.

Ms Shapiro, who was born in Russia, later told a newspaper she feared she and her husband had been the victims of poisoning.

Salisbury restaurant incident
A major incident was declared by emergency services and the area was sealed off (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A police source told the BBC one line of inquiry could be that the incident was a hoax.

But a statement from Janes Solicitors, on behalf of Ms Shapiro, said: “There has been some media speculation that our client may have participated in an elaborate hoax as regards her fear of her husband’s poisoning at Prezzo Restaurant on Sunday 16th September and its possible cause.

“She has asked Janes Solicitors to emphasise that she was not involved in any hoax and that her fears were genuine, both as to the poisoning and her suspicion of foul play.

“However, as the incident is now being investigated by the Wiltshire Police force, it is not appropriate to comment further at this stage.

“We ask that the media respect our client’s privacy whilst she recovers from her ordeal.”

Wiltshire Police said both Ms Shapiro and Mr King have been interviewed and there have been no arrests made as the investigation continues.

A spokesman for the restaurant, which reopened on Thursday, said its staff had been “brave and resilient” during the “very difficult” incident.

He added: “As you will understand, we will not speculate any further on the individuals involved: this is now a matter between them and the police.”

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