Novichok victim Charlie Rowley recalls gifting 'perfume' to partner Dawn Sturgess

Charlie Rowley, one of the victims of the Novichok poisoning in the UK, has revealed how he found the nerve agent.

Mr Rowley and his partner Dawn Sturgess fell ill after being poisoned with the Russian nerve agent Novichok, the same poison that affected Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The Skripal's poisoning caused an international incident and significantly heightened tensions between Russia and the UK.

Speaking to ITV News this week, Mr Rowley said he found what he believed to be perfume in a sealed container and gifted it to his partner Ms Sturgess. She fell ill minutes after spraying the substance on her wrist and died eight days later.

"Within 15 minutes, I believe Dawn said she felt she had a headache and asked me if I had any headache tablets," Mr Rowley told ITV News.

"I had a look around the flat and within that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath, which at the time I thought was a bit strange. I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed, in a very ill state."

Mr Rowley says he can't quite remember where he found the bottle, but is adamant it was in a sealed box, wrapped in cellophane and unopened.

It didn't even have the spray lid on and Mr Rowley had to fit it himself. He spilled the liquid on his hands as he tried to open it, which lead to him becoming poisoned himself.

"It had an oily substance and I smelt it and it didn't smell of perfume. It felt oily, so I washed it off really quick but I didn't think anything of it. It all happened so quick," Mr Rowley said.

He doesn't remember much else from the poisoning until he woke up and was questioned by police about the bottle.

"When I came round, weeks after, the police were talking to me and they mentioned a bottle they found in the flat," he said.

"They ran tests on it and I could pretty much guarantee the contents of the bottle was perfume and it was nothing to worry about. They ran tests on it and I was in complete shock when they told me it was Novichok."


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