Novichok victim Charlie Rowley became contaminated after breaking bottle, brother says 

By Wire News Sources on July 21, 2018

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley became contaminated after breaking bottle, brother says The Salisbury man struck down by the Novichok nerve agent which killed his girlfriend was contaminated when the container containing the chemical weapon splintered in his hand, his brother revealed on Sunday. Charlie Rowley was discharged from hospital on Friday, after spending 20 days in hospital recovering from the effects of the military grade nerve agent which took the life of Dawn Sturgess two weeks ago. Shortly before being released from Salisbury District Hospital Mr Rowley told his brother Matthew that he and Miss Sturgess, 44, were contaminated after handling a container disguised as a perfume bottle. It came as police continued a fingertip search of Queen Elizabeth Gardens, the park in Salisbury where Mr Rowley and Miss Sturgess are believed to have stumbled across the glass bottle. Officers have been examining a river which flows through the gardens and have now also turned their attention to a toilet block next to a car park used by hundreds of people before it was sealed off. Mr Rowley told his brother Matthew that he and Miss Sturgess were contaminated after handling a container disguised as a perfume bottle Credit: AFP Detectives are understood to be continuing to question Mr Rowley, 45, following his release from hospital, in order to build up as detailed a picture as possible of the events which led to Miss Sturgess’ death. It is thought he has not yet been able to remember where he and Miss Sturgess found the container, which police believe contained the same Novichok agent used in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last March. Mr Rowley’s brother Matthew told The Sunday Telegraph his brother’s recollection of what took place was still “vagueâ€�, but he added: “He told me that they found something that looked like a perfume bottle. Dawn sprayed what was inside it on both her wrists and rubbed them together, like you do when you’re trying perfume. “Charlie said she then gave the bottle to him and somehow it splintered or broke in his hands. That’s how he must have got contaminated.â€� Home of Charlie Rowley where police found the source of the Novichok The bottle was discovered by police just over a week ago, during a minute search of Mr Rowley’s flat in the small town of Amesbury, a 15 minute drive north of Salisbury. The couple caught a bus to the flat after spending the afternoon and early evening in Queen Elizabeth Gardens on June 29. The next day they collapsed within a few hours of each other and were rushed to hospital. Matthew Rowley said that following the death of Miss Sturgess he was convinced his brother would also die. Novichok poisoning – Salisbury – Amesbury timeline and map “I was so thankful when they told me he had regained consciousness and was getting better and to talk to him on the phone at the hospital was such a relief,â€� he said. “I’m his older brother and I was so worried he was going to die. “Charlie is so angry about what happened to Dawn. Really angry. He was fond of her and his daughter got on with hers. They were like a family to him.â€� Mr Rowley, 47,  a former mechanic and bar manager from Warminster, has not been told when he will be reunited with his brother. But it is understood that police are anxious that Charlie Rowley’s account of what happened should not be compromised by discussing it with other people. Detectives will want the opportunity to extract as much evidence as possible from Mr Rowley, who remains a key witness in the investigation into the Novichok attack and the subsequent death of Miss Sturgess. The couple were poisoned by the same nerve agent that poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty A source who has been briefed on the progress of the investigation said: “They want to get out of Charlie the best account of where he was and what happened so they can get to the bottom of this matter.â€� Scotland Yard said: “We have been talking to Mr Rowley in hospital and we will of course be talking to him now he has been discharged. However we don’t intent to release further details about this process.â€� John Glen, the Conservative MP for Salisbury, said he hoped the continuing police investigation would not only lead to the perpetrators of the attack being brought to justice, but also reassure residents who have had to endure two chemical weapon attacks on their doorstep. “The searches are part of the investigation to find out where Dawn and Charlie picked up what appears to have been a contaminated container disguised as a perfume bottle. We all hope that for the sake of Salisbury they will soon make all the areas they have sealed off, such as the park and the couple’s homes, safe,â€� he said. Novichok in Salisbury: How could this happen four months after Skripal attack? Reports last week suggested police have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack on the Skripals. Counter terror police using facial recognition technology and CCTV images reportedly identified a number of Russian agents thought to be responsible. It is believed the hit squad flew back to Russia shortly after carrying out the attack, travelling to London from Salisbury by train.

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