Novichok victim Charlie Rowley leaves hospital


AFP Charlie Rowley collapsed in his home in Amesbury after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley was discharged from hospital, three months after being exposed to the nerve agent.

Salisbury District Hospital said he’d been through an”appalling experience most of us could never imagine”.

Mr Rowley, 45, and his partner Dawn Sturgess, 44, collapsed at his house in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on 30 June, where authorities discovered a bottle containing the nerve agent.

Ms Sturgess later died on 8 July and a murder inquiry was launched.

Lorna Wilkinson, Salisbury District Hospital’s director of nursing, said the day was”tinged with sadness” after the death of Ms Sturgess.

“We continue to believe both of Charlie and of Dawn’s family, and encourage them as they go through the difficult process of coming to terms with her passing,” she said.

Police’identify Novichok suspects’ Novichok victim’s sister remembers’goodbye’ Amesbury poisoning: What we know so far

Ms Wilkinson added that Mr Rowley had been decontaminated to make sure the nerve agent could no longer affect him or anybody who comes into contact with him.

There have only been five victims of Novichok poisoning to be treated at Salisbury District Hospital, she said.

Public Health England’s medical director Paul Cosford said Mr Rowley’s discharge from hospital”creates no risk to anyone in the community”.

He reiterated that the public shouldn’t pick up items such as syringes, needles, makeup or objects made of metal, plastic, or glass.

Wiltshire Police said it would”continue to coordinate activity at a local level to make sure that Mr Rowley continues to get the support he needs in his ongoing recovery”.

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were poisoned in March, but both survived

The poisoning is thought to be connected to the attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were discovered slumped on a bench on 4 March in nearby Salisbury.

They have since been discharged from hospital.

The UK government has blamed Russia for the episode, but the country’s government deny any involvement.

Metropolitan Police Dawn Sturgess died on 8 July after being taken ill on 30 June

Mr Rowley’s brother Matthew has stated his sibling picked up a perfume bottle containing the toxic substance.

The Metropolitan Police, which is leading the investigation, refused to confirm the claim but the force had previously said the material was found in a”little bottle”.

On Thursday, a coroner’s inquest was opened and adjourned for mother-of-three Ms Sturgess.

Her sister Stephanie told the hearing she was present when doctors informed her of the decision to turn off her sister’s life support.

“I then said my goodbyes to Dawn prior to leaving hospital,” she said.

Ms Sturgess lived in Salisbury, and the couple had been in the city before going to Mr Rowley’s flat in nearby Amesbury on Friday 29 June.

They both then fell ill on Saturday 30 June, and Ms Sturgess died eight days later.

Counter-terrorism authorities are investigating five sites in Salisbury and Amesbury, in an attempt to identify where the couple came into contact with the nerve agent.

On Wednesday, international chemical weapons experts completed their investigations in Amesbury, where they sought to identify whether the material that poisoned the couple was in the same batch used against the Skripals.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will analyse the material before reporting back its conclusions.

Police are believed to have identified the perpetrators of the Novichok poisoning on the Skripals, according to Press Association sources.

The news agency reported many Russians were thought to be involved in their attempted murder in Salisbury.

They’re thought to have been identified through CCTV, cross-checked with border entry data.

The BBC’s Gordon Corera considers how likely is it Russia poisoned the Skripals

The Met Police, which is leading the investigation, and the Home Office have both declined to comment.

The BBC has not been able to independently confirm the story.