Novichok victim Charlie Rowley grateful to be alive but feels sad about his partner's death

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley (right) said he gave his partner Dawn Sturgess (left) a perfume bottle he found which contained the deadly nerve agent.
Novichok victim Charlie Rowley (right) said he gave his partner Dawn Sturgess (left) a perfume bottle he found which contained the deadly nerve agent.PHOTOS: AFP/FACEBOOK PAGES OF DAWN STURGESS AND CHARLES ROWLEY

LONDON (AFP) Novichok victim Charlie Rowley said he felt lucky to be alive but could not get over the death of his partner Dawn Sturgess.

Mr Rowley told The Sun newspaper that he gave her a perfume bottle he found which contained the deadly nerve agent. Novichok was used in an attack on a former Russian double agent.

Mr Rowley, 45, and Ms Sturgess, 44, collapsed at his house in Amesbury, southwest England, on June 30. Ms Sturgess died on July 8 and counter-terror detectives have launched a murder probe.

"I'm feeling very low about Dawn," said Mr Rowley, speaking by telephone from an unspecified location.

"I remember finding a cosmetic bottle which I had picked up and gave it to Dawn as a present," he said.

"I feel very sad about what happened to her, it's awful and shocking. I was still on medication when they told me she passed away. I don't think I will ever be able to get over it."

Mr Rowley added: "My heart goes out to Dawn's family. It's amazing that I'm alive. In a way I feel lucky I survived but I've also lost so much."

 
 
 
 

Mr Rowley was discharged from hospital last Friday (July 20).

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed in Salisbury, southwest England, on March 4 after being exposed to Novichok.

Both have since recovered.

Britain blamed Russia for the poisoning of Mr Skripal, a former military intelligence colonel who was jailed for betraying Russian agents to Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service.

He left Russia for Britain in a 2010 spy swap.

Russia has strongly denied involvement in the Skripal attack, sparking a row that has led to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions between Britain and its allies and Moscow.

Mr Rowley slammed whoever had discarded the perfume bottle.

"It's very careless of them, the way they go about their business leaving things lying around," he said.

"There could have been children playing with it."

Mr Rowley said he did not know where he picked the bottle up.

"No, that is still a blur. I don't know where," he said. He recalled the bottle breaking apart in his hands.

Mr Rowley said he and Ms Sturgess had been together for the best part of two years.

He described feeling ill hours after Ms Sturgess was rushed to hospital.

"I felt completely confused. At the time, in my head, I just wanted to go visit Dawn. I knew she became ill that morning," he said.

"Hours after, I took a turn for the worse. Then all I remember is coming out of a two-week induced coma."

The Sun said Mr Rowley was living near his home and was still occasionally being interviewed by detectives.

His home remains cordoned off by the police.

"I'd really like to go out for a bottle of wine. I'm very glad to be out of hospital but I'm trapped in a room and on a lot of medication. I've been let out for a cigarette but I'm very bored," he said.