NY Times- Charlie Rowley does not remember exactly where he picked up the box containing the small glass bottle, but he does recall what was inside. It was definitely not perfume as he had originally supposed, but an oily substance that had very little smell at all.
It was only when he regained consciousness weeks later in a British hospital that the police told him what the substance was: a military-grade nerve agent known as a Novichok that British authorities believe was most likely left behind by Russian assassins.
“I was in complete shock when they told me it was Novichok,” Mr. Rowley said in an interview with the British television channel ITV on Tuesday, his first public remarks since he and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, fell ill on July 1 in the town of Amesbury in southern England. Ms. Sturgess died a week later.
British authorities say the nerve agent is the same substance that was used to poison a former Russian spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. Investigators believe Mr. Rowley and Ms. Sturgess were most likely exposed accidentally when Mr. Rowley picked up the container it was carried in and took it home.
Friends described Mr. Rowley as a “skip diver,” who would rummage through trash bins for valuable items and, occasionally, trinkets he would give to his girlfriend as gifts.
“I do have a memory of her spraying it on her wrist and I guess rubbing it, rubbing them together,” Mr. Rowley said. “I think within 15 minutes I believe Dawn said that she felt she had a headache.”
“She asked me if I had any headache tablets,” he said. “I had a look around the flat and within that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath, which at the time I thought seemed a bit strange. And then within minutes I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed in the bath, in a very ill state.”
Honestly, I didn’t realize that innocent British citizens had fallen victim to the work of these extremely unprofessional, untidy assassins. Haven’t been keeping up on my spy news. As it turns out, the assassins entered Britain, killed a former Russian spy with poison, and left. But for some inexcusable reason, they threw a perfume bottle of Novichok in the trash at a public park. And that’s where Charlie Rowley, noted forager, found it. The deadly nerve agent–the deadliest ever developed, according to Russian scientists–was housed in a perfume bottle. Charlie rejoiced, thinking he’d found a way out of buying his girlfriend a birthday gift. Tragically, his frugality ended up killing her when she spritzed her wrists with the poison.
Seriously. That happened.
You know where you can’t buy poison? Macy’s. They sell perfume in their perfume. You can find a terrific gift for your significant other, mother, or side piece for the low price of $40-$60. It’s a great place to shop if you enjoy their heartbeat.
But if you’re looking for a riskier gift, try the trash can at the local park. You can find a pair of hypodermic needles and present them to your lady as earrings. She’ll be fine.
Sometimes I wonder if I could be an assassin, and what that would do for my happiness. There’s obviously terrific money in it. You can set yourself up for a great retirement down the road, but it would also be difficult to walk away from the game. I have to think the thrill of killing someone and getting away with it is a high unlike any other. You could experiment with different methods, tools, mess with your victims’ minds a bit. You’ve got her tied up in a sewer and you offer her a cup of tea or a wet wipe, just to give her some hope. A gesture of humanity to make her think she might see her children again. That tiny spark of hope causes her to miss the portable saw charging less than 10 feet away. She can see it plugged in, and yet she thinks I’ll unlock the manacles simply because I handed her a tepid mug of almond rooibos? The optimism of the human spirit truly is blind to reason. Look where we are, you moron. You’re fucking dead.
I guess it’s true what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s girlfriend’s demise.