Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020

Novichok victim says finding love has helped him ‘overcome’ trauma

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley says finding love again with mother-of-five has helped him ‘overcome’ trauma after nerve agent poisoning

  • After a two-week coma, he was told that girlfriend Dawn Sturgess had died 
  • The 46-year-old from Amesbury hasfound love with mother-of-five Kim Mahoney
  • He said that the couple aren’t ‘rushing’, but have discussed potential marriage 

When the deadly Novichok nerve agent was weaponised on the streets of Salisbury last year, exposure left Charlie Rowley fighting for his life.

With his chances of survival balanced on a knife edge, he remarkably pulled through to awake from his two-week coma.

But upon regaining consciousness, he was delivered the crushing news that his girlfriend Dawn Sturgess had died from the poison.

One year on, the 46-year-old Amesbury-based victim found love again and hailed his his new girlfriend for helping him to overcome his trauma.  


Charlie Rowley (right), 45, slipped into a two-week coma in June 2018 following exposure to the toxins that contaminated a discarded perfume bottle which killed girlfriend Dawn Sturgess (left), 44

Mr Rowley has reportedly started dating mother-of-one Kim Mahoney (pictured) and sought the blessing of his dead ex-partner’s father

Gushing over 46-year-old mother-of-five Kim Mahoney – Mr Rowley’s new partner – he told the Sunday Mirror: ‘She is really helping me overcome what I’ve been through…

‘We’re not going to rush, but we have spoken about marriage. We’re in it for the long haul.

‘I didn’t know if I’d ever feel happy again after Dawn died, but I do because of Kim. I’m thankful we found each other.’

Ms Mahoney revealed that Mr Rowley, a Facebook friend, invited her for a drink at his house – where she then stayed for ‘three of four days’. 

In March last year, Wiltshire was rocked when Kremlin spies allegedly attempted to  murder former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 68, in Salisbury. 

In March last year, Wiltshire was rocked when Kremlin spies allegedly attempted to assassinated former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal (right with daughter Yulia), 68, in Salisbury

Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley fell ill after handling the perfume bottle used by the Moscow hitmen in their initial botched assassination of the Skripals

Both he and his then 33-year-old daughter Yulia were rushed to hospital in critical condition after coming into contact with Novichok – a deadly nerve agent concocted by Soviet scientists during the Cold War. 

They survived the suspected attempted murder, but four months later, in the same county, Ms Sturgess was killed.

She and Mr Rowley fell ill after handling the perfume bottle used by the Moscow hitmen in their initial botched assassination of the Skripals.

Mr Rowley, who has battled psychological scars as well as fading eyesight, found the perfume bottle in a charity shop bin before giving it to his then girlfriend as a gift.  

He met Ms Sturgess at the start of 2018 when both were living in hostels for homeless people in Salisbury.   

Mr Rowley reportedly sought the blessing of his dead ex-partner’s father as he embarked on his new relationship with Ms Mahoney. 

Timeline of the Salisbury attack 

2010 – Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer jailed for spying for Britain, is released and flown to the UK as part of a swap with Russian agents caught in the United States. He settles in Salisbury.

2018 

March 3 – Yulia Skripal arrives at Heathrow Airport from Russia to visit her father in England.

March 4, 9.15am – Sergei Skripal’s burgundy BMW is seen in suburban Salisbury, near a cemetery, where his wife and son are commemorated.

March 4, 1.30pm – The BMW is seen driving toward central Salisbury.

March 4, 1.40pm – The BMW is parked at a lot in central Salisbury.

March 4, afternoon – Sergei and Yulia Skripal visit the Bishops Mill pub.

March 4, 2.20pm to 3.35pm – Sergei and Yulia Skripal have lunch at the Zizzi restaurant.

March 4, 4.15pm – Emergency services are called by a passer-by concerned about a man and a woman in Salisbury city centre.

Officers find the Skripals unconscious on a bench. They are taken to Salisbury District Hospital, where they remain in critical condition.

March 5, morning – Police say two people in Salisbury are being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance.

March 5, afternoon – Wiltshire Police, along with Public Health England, declare a ‘major incident’

March 7 – Police announce that the Skripals were likely poisoned with a nerve agent in a targeted murder attempt.

They disclose that a police officer who responded to the incident is in serious condition in a hospital.

March 8 – Home Secretary Amber Rudd describes the use of a nerve agent on UK soil was a ‘brazen and reckless act’ of attempted murder

March 9 – About 180 troops trained in chemical warfare and decontamination are deployed to Salisbury to help with the police investigation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow might be willing to assist with the investigation but expresses resentment at suggestions the Kremlin was behind the attack.

March 11 – Public health officials tell people who visited the Zizzi restaurant or Bishops Mill pub in Salisbury on the day of the attack or the next day to wash their clothes as a precaution.

March 12, morning– Prime Minister Theresa May tells the House of Commons that the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

March 12, afternoon – Public Health England ask everyone who visited Salisbury town centre on the day of the attack to wash all of their clothes and belongings.

March 14 – The PM announces the expulsion of 23 suspected Russian spies from the country’s UK Embassy.

March 22 – Nick Bailey, the police officer injured in the attack, is released from hospital.

March 26 – The United States and 22 other countries join Britain in expelling scores of Russian spies from capitals across the globe.

March 29 – Doctors say Yulia Skripal is ‘improving rapidly’ in hospital.

‘Unknown time in the spring’ – Dutch authorities expelled two suspected Russian spies who tried to hack into a Swiss laboratory

April 3 – The chief of the Porton Down defence laboratory said it could not verify the ‘precise source’ of the nerve agent.

April 5, morning – Yulia Skripal’s cousin Viktoria says she has received a call from Yulia saying she plans to leave hospital soon.

April 5, afternoon – A statement on behalf of Yulia is released by Metropolitan Police, in which she says her strength is ‘growing daily’ and that ‘daddy is fine’.

April 9 – Ms Skripal is released from hospital and moved to a secure location.

May 18 – Sergei Skripal is released from hospital 11 weeks after he was poisoned.

June 30 – Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fall ill at a property in Amesbury, which is eight miles from Salisbury, and are rushed to hospital.

July 4 – Police declare a major incident after Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are exposed to an ‘unknown substance’, later revealed to be Novichok.

July 5 – Sajid Javid demands an explanation over the two poisonings as he accuses the Russian state of using Britain as a ‘dumping ground for poison’.

July 8 – Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, dies in hospital due to coming into contact with Novichok.

July 10 – Mr Rowley regains consciousness at hospital, and later tells his brother that Dawn had sprayed the Novichok onto her wrists.

July 19 – Police are believed to have identified the perpetrators of the attack.

August 20 – Charlie Rowley is rushed to hospital as he starts to lose his sight, but doctors can’t confirm whether it has anything to do with the poisoning.

August 26 – Charlie Rowley admitted to intensive care unit with meningitis

August 28 – Police call in the ‘super recognisers’ in bid to track down the poisoners

September 4 – Charlie Rowley’s brother says he has ‘lost all hope’ and doesn’t have long to live.

Independent investigators, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, confirm the toxic chemical that killed Ms Sturgess was the same nerve agent as that which poisoned the Skripals.

September 5 – Scotland Yard and CPS announce enough evidence to charge Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov for conspiracy to murder over Salisbury nerve agent attack.

September 13 – Britain’s most wanted men speak to RT and claim to be humble tourists

September 26 – The real identity of one of the two assassins, named by police as Ruslan Boshirov, is reported to be Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga. 

October 9 – The real identity of the second assassin, who used the name Alexander Petrov, is revealed to be Alexander Mishkin, a military doctor working for Russian intelligence. 

2019 

March 1 – Salisbury is declared decontaminated.

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