AMESBURY: Charlie Rowley discharged from hospital

Police teams comb Queen Elizabeth Gardens and the banks of the River Avon in Salisbury

Police teams comb Queen Elizabeth Gardens and the banks of the River Avon in Salisbury

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley has been discharged from hospital, three weeks after being exposed to the nerve agent.

Mr Rowley, 44, and his partner Dawn Sturgess collapsed at his house in Amesbury last month, where police found a bottle containing the Soviet-era nerve agent.

The poisoning is thought to be linked to the attack on Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were discovered slumped on a bench on 4 March in nearby Salisbury.

Last week, it was revealed that investigators had identified, from CCTV footage, Russian nationals that were suspects in the poisoning of the Skripals.

Dawn Sturgess dabbed on what she believed to be perfume from a small bottle.

Britain blamed Russian Federation for the poisoning of the Skripals.

Both incidents have made residents of the Salisbury area increasingly nervous about nerve agent attacks. "We did this both to help them get better and ensure there would be no remaining contamination".

The Director of Nursing, Lorna Wilkinson, also said staff have "decontaminated" Charlie, with Public Health England advising that "he poses no risk to the community".

PA said investigators believe Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times the amount of nerve agent as the Skripals came into contact with.

Ms Sturgess lived in Salisbury, and the couple had been in the city before going to Mr Rowley's flat in nearby Amesbury on Friday 29 June.

Rowley's brother Matthew told the BBC that the 45-year-old had told him the Novichok was contained in a perfume bottle.

An inquest into the death of Sturgess opened on Thursday in Salisbury and was adjourned until a pre-inquest review on January 16, pending further investigation.

Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, who is leading the investigation along with counter terror experts, said: 'On behalf of all my officers, staff and volunteers, we welcome today's news that Charlie Rowley has been discharged from Salisbury District hospital.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will analyse the substance before reporting back its conclusions.

Teams of specialist officers are continuing their forensic search for traces of novichok at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

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