NOVI­CHOK VIC­TIM CHAR­LIE ON HIS I fear for my sight and my heart is so much weaker

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY PA­TRICK HILL

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

HAUNTED

“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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.