Charlie Rowley has spoken about the Novichok attack that killed his girlfriend.  Picture:  ITV
Charlie Rowley has spoken about the Novichok attack that killed his girlfriend. Picture: ITV

Novichok victim didn’t remember partner

NOVICHOK poisoning victim Charlie Rowley has told of the moment he learned the "perfume" he gave his partner had killed her.

The Sun reports that the Amesbury man described how Dawn Sturgess unknowingly applied nerve agent to her wrists and died days later in his first TV interview since his recovery.

Charlie Rowley was so ill he couldn’t remember girlfriend Dawn Sturgess when he woke up after a Novichok attack.  Picture:  Supplied
Charlie Rowley was so ill he couldn’t remember girlfriend Dawn Sturgess when he woke up after a Novichok attack. Picture: Supplied

The 45-year-old told ITV News he was so unwell when he woke in hospital that he couldn't place who Sturgess , his partner, was, when he was told of her death.

The pair collapsed on June 30 - months after ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal were targeted with Novichok in the same city.

Mr Rowley said of that day: "It wasn't until that morning I showed it [the perfume] to her and gave it to Dawn and showed it to her and she recognised the bottle and product as a known brand and I thought I was doing nothing more of it than giving her a gift.

"Within 15 mins Dawn said she had a headache. She asked me if I had any headache tablets.

Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia Skripal were also attacked with Novichok.  Picture:  Supplied
Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia Skripal were also attacked with Novichok. Picture: Supplied

"I had a look around the flat. In that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath.

"At the time I thought it seemed a bit strange and I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed, in a very ill state."

A day later Sturgess was dead, and police launched a murder probe, while Mr Rowley remained seriously unwell in hospital.

He was told mum-of-three Sturgess had died when he eventually regained consciousness, and said: "It was all too much to take on board. Too much. I was told too much all at once. It was too much to take on board.

"I was still ill at the time. I couldn't piece together … It took time to piece together I'd sent Dawn to hospital prior to me being ill.

"It took time to process. I was so ill I didn't even know who Dawn was at that point."

 

 

He described the bottle as glass, with a plastic dispenser lid. It had come in a cardboard box and Mr Rowley believes it was all sealed and new.

He said they had been out in Salisbury the night before they become unwell, and he could have found the bottle in the city, or in Amesbury.

The grieving man admitted he has a habit of finding things, but said the gift he gave Sturgess on June 30 was "a bad find".

He told of his memory of her spraying the contents of the bottle onto her wrists and rubbing them together.

Mr Rowley also got some on his hand, but rubbed the "oily" substance off under the tap.

 

Later, after paramedics had rushed Sturgess to hospital, Mr Rowley said he began to foam at the mouth before a friend called emergency, and his memory stops.

He warned people not to pick up anything they might find in public, and added he is "very angry at the whole incident".

He paid tribute to Sturgess, and her relationship with her children, as he spoke of his guilt over accidentally giving her the poison.

Work is well underway to determine if the nerve agent which killed Sturgess, and left her partner Mr Rowley seriously ill, came from the same batch used on the Skripals.

About 100 detectives from the Counter Terrorism Policing Network have been drafted in to work on the probe, with Wiltshire Police.

 

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission



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