A Russian-born lingerie model sparked fears about another poison plot in the English city of Salisbury after claiming she was targeted by assassins sent by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to a report.
Israeli citizen Anna Shapiro, 30, and her husband, Alex King, 42, became violently sick Sunday in the Italian restaurant Prezzo, where she said she found him collapsed in the toilet and “foaming at the mouth,” The Sun reported.
The city’s center was placed on lockdown and responders in biohazard suits evacuated eateries and pubs after the frightening incident, which security sources told the news outlet may have been caused by rat poison strychnine.
King remained hospitalized in a hospital, where he was fighting for his life, according to The Sun.
On Tuesday a Wiltshire police spokesman said: “Tests have confirmed that the two patients who fell ill in Prezzo restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday evening were not exposed to any kind of nerve agent.
“Following test results, at this stage this is not being treated as suspicious,” the spokesman added. “Inquiries into what caused the pair to become unwell are still ongoing. However, due to the recent events, scientific tests were undertaken to establish if they had come into contact with Novichok, or any other type of nerve agent.
“These tests have concluded that this was not the case. Therefore, at this stage, we are not linking their illness to the recent poisonings.”
The episode drew comparisons to the case of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok in March.
“I was targeted by Putin’s henchmen. They want me dead as I oppose Putin and have turned my back on my country,” Shapiro, who said her father was a top military general in Russia, told the paper.
“Russia is capable of anything,” the busty, blue-eyed blonde said.
The couple arrived in Landford, near Salisbury, on Sunday and rented farmhouse, where they asked the owner to recommend where they could grab a bite.
When the woman told them to try Prezzo in Salisbury, Shapiro laughed and said: “I hope we don’t get poisoned.”
“On arrival I ordered a florentine pizza and Alex went for sea bass, vegetables and baby potatoes. We also had two glasses of white wine,” she told The Sun.
Toward the end of the meal, her husband began to look and feel sick, she said.
“He went pale and said he was going to the toilet upstairs. After 15 minutes I began to get worried,” she said.
“I headed up and saw him lying on the floor near the sinks. He was face down and his arms were thrashing about. I thought it was a seizure and tried to get him up. But he was foaming at the mouth and pushed me off. I ran downstairs for help. I was panicked.”
Shapiro called for help before she, too, became violently ill and collapsed.
“I didn’t see Alex again. He was put in an induced coma. The Prezzo guy and me had to strip naked and shower before undergoing tests,” said Shapiro, who was released from the hospital Monday.
“It is harrowing waiting for news of Alex. I feel lucky but the doctors are not sure about him,” she said.
“He has regained consciousness, which is marvelous. But we’re still waiting for his test results. I’m so scared and wanted to leave London as I didn’t feel safe. Now this has happened.”
Shapiro, who studied for three years at Westminster Law School, said her father “is appalled at the paths I have taken.”
“Someone purporting to be my father is behind a series of death threats I have had on various social media accounts and email addresses. They have frightened me,” she said.
“I’m sure the Russians think I’m a British spy. I know lots of rich businessmen in central London and because I have the accent people make assumptions about me.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the recent Novichok attack. Moscow has denied the allegation.
British authorities last week charged in absentia two Russians they said were operating under aliases — Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — who they said had tried to kills the Skripals.
They survived, as did a police officer, Nick Bailey, who became sick after responding to the scene. But Dawn Sturgess, 44, died July 8, after authorities said she and her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, 48, had also been exposed to Novichok.
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