Novichok victim released from UK hospital | News | DW | 20.07.2018
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Novichok victim released from UK hospital

Charlie Rowley is on the mend three weeks after touching a bottle of nerve agent reportedly disguised as perfume. Investigators are reportedly closing in on suspects.

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley was released from a UK hospital on Friday after three weeks of treatment. Officials believe that the nerve agent that sickened Rowley, 45, and killed his partner was the same that was used against ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

"Charlie has been through an appalling experience most of us could never imagine," said Lorna Wilkinson, head of nursing at Salisbury District Hospital. "Today is a very welcome milestone in his recovery."

Rowley and his partner Dawn Sturgess became ill on June 30 after handling a small bottle of Novichok near Rowley's home in Amesbury, reportedly disguised as a perfume bottle. Sturgess, 44, died in the hospital on July 8. She is believed to have been exposed to 10 times as much Novichok as the Skripals.

Amesbury is just 7.7 miles (12.3 km) from Salisbury, where the Skripals were found collapsed on a bench on March 4. The father and daughter have since been moved to a safe location for their protection.

'They are sure the (suspects) are Russian'

"Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time," a source close to the investigation told Britain's domestic Press Association news service.

"They are sure the (suspects) are Russian."

The attack on Skripal has made an already tense UK-Russia relationship even frostier. Britain was quick to condemn Russia for the attack, as Novichok is a substance manufactured only there, but Moscow has denied playing any role in the matter and demanded proof.

Both incidents have made residents of the Salisbury area increasingly nervous about nerve agent attacks. About 100 counterterrorism officers have been dispatched the area to search for the source of the compound.

es/tj (AP, AFP)

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