24/07/2018 10:09 BST

Novichok Victim’s Guilt After Unwittingly Giving Girlfriend Bottle Containing Nerve Agent

'In a way I feel lucky I survived but I’ve also lost so much.'

Rex Features
Novichok victim Charlie Rowley says he feels lucky to be alive 

Novichok attack victim Charlie Rowley has told of his regret after unwittingly giving a perfume bottle which contained the nerve agent to his girlfriend, who later died.

The 45-year-old was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital on Friday after being admitted on June 30.

His partner Dawn Sturgess died on July 8 after the pair became exposed to the deadly nerve agent after handling a contaminated bottle later found in Rowley’s home.

Rowley said he recalls a “cosmetic bottle” which he gave to Sturgess.

PA Wire/PA Images
Dawn Sturgess died after being exposed to the deadly nerve agent 

He told The Sun newspaper: “I’m feeling very low about Dawn. I remember finding a cosmetic bottle which I had picked up and gave it to Dawn as a present.

“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.

“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.”

The couple became ill at a property in Muggleton Road in Amesbury, eight miles from Salisbury, and were taken to hospital.

Rowley and Sturgess, 44, were victims of the second nerve agent attack in four months following the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury in March.

Police are believed to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack on Russian former spy Skripal and his daughter.

Speaking about those who discarded the bottle, Rowley told The Sun: “It’s very careless of them, the way they go about their business leaving things lying around.

“It was meant for someone, it was wrong to leave it lying around for anyone to pick up. There could have been children playing with it.”

Meanwhile, his brother, Matthew Rowley, told the Mirror: “His legs are playing up and he can’t really walk. He was up on Sunday but he is really weak still.

“I’ve been trying to push him for information but he has been through a really traumatic thing.

“It’s difficult talking to him as he still can’t really remember anything. He hasn’t talked about Dawn and I don’t want to ask because I’m trying to lift his spirits, not bring them down.”

Matthew Rowley told the newspaper that his brother is “very lethargic” and “does not seem himself”.