A terrorism expert has claimed a second secret gang of spooks was behind the novichok poison attack on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Glaswegian Graham Yuill said the team planted a contaminated perfume bottle to confuse police.

Yuill spoke out after the UK Government last week announced a public inquiry will be held next year into the death of Dawn Sturgess, 44.

Alexander Petrov (left) and Ruslan Boshirov
Alexander Petrov (left) and Ruslan Boshirov

She died after spraying perfume from a bottle found by her partner, 45-year-old Charlie Rowley.

Rowley claims to have found the bottle in a charity shop bin in Salisbury in June 2018 – three months after the attack on Skripal, who had been working for Britain.

Their poisoning followed the attempted murder of Skripal, 70, his daughter and police officer Nick Bailey. They survived, as did Rowley.

Police claim the perfume was part of the same deadly Novichok batch used on the Skripals.

Yuill has written a book on the attack called Putin’s Assassin. In it, he says it was a separate sample left weeks later by the second spy gang who sneaked into the UK under the noses of the security services.

Yuill, who worked as a close protection officer in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, said: “It was beautifully planned.

Dawn Sturgess, who died after being exposed to a nerve agent in Amesbury
Dawn Sturgess, who died after being exposed to a nerve agent in Amesbury

"The bottle of perfume that Rowley found would have been introduced later after Skripal was poisoned.

“It was meant to be found as part of an operation by the second Russian team to confuse the police.”

Security consultant and former soldier Graham Yuill
Security consultant and former soldier Graham Yuill

Yuill believes the perfume bottle was brought in and planted by the second gang in the bin after the area had been searched and cleared of further contamination.

He added: “The bottle found by Rowley was almost full, cellophane sealed and professionally packaged – proof it had not been reopened or tampered with after it had been laced with Novichok.

"There is no evidence to suggest that this was the actual bottle used against the Skripals.”

The Skripal attack was blamed on Russian spies who were believed to have smeared Novichok on the door handle of his Salisbury home.

The Met Police has identified three suspects – Denis Sergeev, Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga.

Moscow has repeatedly denied involvement.