THE NEXT preliminary hearing in the inquiry into the death of Dawn Sturgess begins today. 

The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was the target of the poisoning in Salisbury in March 2018.

He, his daughter Yulia and a police officer, DS Nick Bailey, were poisoned but survived.

Four months later, Miss Sturgess, 44, and her partner, Charlie Rowley, were also poisoned after he found a fake perfume bottle containing novichok.

Rowley recovered but Miss Sturgess died on 8 July 2018.

Salisbury Journal: Muggleton Road, AmesburyMuggleton Road, Amesbury

This hearing is not part of the Inquiry proper which reportedly due to begin on October 14 this year, with evidence sessions expected in Salisbury and London. 

In March last year, the government defended the "exceptional delays" in the inquiry, saying sensitive information has been found in more than 1,000 documents.

The counsel to the Dawn Sturgess inquiry, Andrew O’Connor KC, said there is “still some way to go” and his team would not be ready for substantive hearings until the “middle or end of next year”.

It was also revealed at another previous hearing that "perhaps quite a lot" of material will be kept secret. 

This latest hearing will take place from 10.30am at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. 

Both preliminary and substantive hearings which take place in public are open to all, and full transcripts of them are made available on the Inquiry’s website shortly after the event.