Wiltshire

Charlie Rowley: Novichok victim 'terrified' about health

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A man who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok says he is "terrified he will be dead within a decade".

Charlie Rowley, 45, was exposed to the same poison used to attack ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

Mr Rowley told the Sunday Mirror he was "struggling to see and to walk".

Mr Rowley and his partner Dawn Sturgess fell ill in Amesbury on 30 June, months after the Skripal incident. Ms Sturgess died in hospital in July.

Britain has accused Russia of carrying out the poisoning of the Skripals, who were found seriously ill on a bench on 4 March. The pair survived.

Image caption Charlie Rowley was exposed to the same poison used to attack Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia

Russia has also been blamed for the death of Ms Sturgess and the poisoning of Mr Rowley, who are believed to have come into contact with a bottle of Novichok discarded by the Skripals' attackers.

Mr Rowley told the newspaper: "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."

He said he was "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."

Image caption Dawn Sturgess died after finding a bottle containing the Novichok

Mr Rowley added he "dreaded getting a cold" and was "worried the Novichok could kill me if I get any sort of virus again".

He told the Sunday Mirror he felt "suicidal" and claimed to have had "no support".

"The system is flawed. I need counselling. If the authorities offered me help I would take it. I feel let down.

"I don't think I'll be alive in 10 years. It has been horrendous," he said.

Police have said they do not believe Mr Rowley or Ms Sturgess were deliberately targeted, but were affected due to the "recklessness" with which the nerve agent was disposed of.

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