NOVICHOK VICTIM CHARLIE ON HIS I fear for my sight and my heart is so much weaker
NOVICHOK victim Charlie Rowley today reveals the physical and psychological hell inflicted on him by Russian hitmen.
Charlie, an unwitting victim of the Salisbury poison attack, has deteriorating eyesight and fears he will be left permanently
He was in a for days, has had numerous contracted and now needs a heart pacemaker.
His mind is in turmoil and nightmares and flashbacks have left him feeling suicidal.
Charlie is convinced, one way or another, that the poison will kill him.
He also spoke of the fateful moment he opened the bottle – disguised as Premier Jour perfume – and his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess, 44, sprayed it on to her wrists. Within 15 minutes she was fitting and foaming at the mouth. She died 10 days later.
Yesterday in his first interview since leaving hospital, Charlie, 45, wept as he told the Sunday Mirror: “I may be out of hospital but I don’t feel safe. I’m terrified about the future.
“Doctors simply don’t know what the long-term effects could be.
“The worst thing has been the fear over my sight. I’m struggling to see properly and to walk.
Docs don’t know what will happen to me... it’s on my mind all the time and I’m terrified CHARLIE ROWLEY VICTIM OF NERVE AGENT USED BY RUSSIAN ASSASSINS
“I’m one of only a handful in the world to have survived Novichok, so it’s untrod territory. I feel like a guinea pig. I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”
The bottle contained the deadly nerve agent used in the assassination bid on Sergei Skripal, 67, and daughter Yulia, 33, in Salisbury, Wilts, in March.
Charlie found it in a charity bin on June 27 and gave it to Dawn three days later. He repeatedly broke down as he recalled his ordeal – and said he is haunted by guilt over her death.
He told us: “I’m still worried the Novichok could kill me if I get any sort of virus again – it’s on my mind all the time. I’m dreading getting a cold.
“When I got out of hospital the first time I was pleased. But it may have been too soon because a few weeks later I was back – blind and unable to use my left arm with meningitis.
“I remember losing all balance and suffering tunnel vision. Doctors told me I’d suffered numerous strokes and I needed heart treatment and a pacemaker. It’s all to do with the Novichok.
“Before that I could jog, run, now I can’t walk without being totally out of breath. I’m still suffering with my arm not functioning properly and my sight and my balance still isn’t right.
“I feel done in. I can’t move, I can’t see properly and I keep thinking it’s re-occurring. It’s terrifying.”
Charlie recalled giving the bottle to Dawn, adding: “I remember saying ‘I’ve got something for you’ and I went and got the perfume. I’d found it in a charity bin. I hadn’t heard of the brand and couldn’t read the name because I’m dyslexic, but she recognised it and said it was really good. The perfume was sealed, so I sliced the packet open and attached the bottle and dispenser.
“As I did it, I got my hands covered in it. I sniffed it and I noticed it was almost odourless which I thought was odd, but because Dawn had recognised it I didn’t think anything of it.
“She sprayed i t on her wrists and rubbed them together and it was oily on my hands so I went to the sink and washed it off.
“Fifteen minutes later Dawn said she had a headache and went to the bathroom. I found her convulsing in the bath and foaming at the mouth. She had got in still fully clothed.
“I called 999. I was screaming and trying to help her while waiting for the ambulance while the operator was telling me how to carry out CPR.
“I was saying to Dawn, ‘Please don’t do this, wake up, please don’t leave me’. It felt like it took an age for the ambulance to arrive. I was in bits. I’m not normally religious, but I prayed she would survive.
“I was okay after touching the bottle the first time because I washed my hands, but when I went back to the flat I think I got infected again from the tap.
“I remember suddenly feeling really ill, then I woke up in hospital and I was watching myself on TV news.
“About a week later doctors told me, ‘ Your partner has died’. I was in tears for weeks, continuously breaking down.
“I felt like I’d poisoned Dawn and everyone else was blaming me. I’ve felt suicidal. I wished it had been me that
Dawn handled poison in scent bottle, below CCTV image shows Boshirov and Petrov, right, in Salisbury
Haunted Charlie blames himself