Man exposed to novichok nerve agent "terrified about the future"

Charlie Rowley was one of two people exposed to novichok in June

Man exposed to novichok nerve agent "terrified about the future"

File photo dated 05/07/18 of police at the home of Charlie Rowley. Picture by: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

A man who was exposed to novichok has claimed he's "terrified about the future" due to uncertainty over how exactly the nerve agent has affected him.

The Soviet developed nerve agent became widely known after it was used in the attempted poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.

They both survived, and have since been discharged from hospital.

Months later, two people in nearby Amesbury - Charlie Rowley and his partner Dawn Sturgess - became ill after apparent exposure to the substance.

Ms Sturgess later died as a result of the poisoning.

Police believe the couple were exposed to the nerve agent through a perfume bottle which contained the batch used against the Skripals.

It's thought that the bottle was 'recklessly' disposed of by those behind the Salisbury attack, and later discovered by Mr Rowley.

While the 45-year-old was discharged from hospital in July, in subsequent months he was readmitted for treatment for sight issues and meningitis. 

In a new interview, he claims he still doesn't feel safe after exposure to the nerve agent.

He told the Sunday Mirror: "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.

"Doctors told me I'd suffered numerous strokes and I needed heart treatment and a pacemaker. It's all to do with the novichok."

He suggested he feels like a 'guinea pig' - since so few people have survived novichok, it's not known what the long-term consequences of exposure could be.

Mr Rowley also said he 'feels let down', claiming he has felt suicidal and has not received support from authorities.

He added: "I don't think I'll be alive in 10 years. It has been horrendous."

Police in the UK have accused two Russians - using the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov - of being behind the Salisbury attack.

Subsequent reports have claimed to identify the two suspects as a military doctor in Russia's GRU intelligence agency and a high-ranking GRU colonel.

Moscow has denied any involvement in the attack, and the two men have appeared on Russian state TV claiming they had nothing to do with the poisoning.