Novichok victim Charlie Rowley has revealed how he blames himself over girlfriend Dawn Sturgess' death - after giving her the Novichok nerve agent that killed her as a gift.
In his first interview since he left hospital, the 45-year-old told how he gave Sturgess what he believed to be a bottle of perfume but then watched in horror as she was taken ill just 15 minutes after spraying it on her wrists.
Rowley told ITV News in the UK when he came around in hospital after being exposed to the deadly Russian nerve agent, he was so ill he didn't know who Sturgess was.
He revealed how he found the "perfume", which was in a sealed bottle, and gave it to Sturgess on the morning that she collapsed.
He said: "I had showed Dawn what I'd found. It might've been hanging around the flat for a couple of days.
"I find things and it looked expensive. It looked expensive. Unfortunately it turned out to be… to be a bad find.
"Within 15 minutes Dawn said she had a headache. She asked me if I had any headache tablets. I had a look around the flat. In that time she said she felt peculiar and needed to lie down in the bath.
"At the time I thought it seemed a bit strange and I went into the bathroom and found her in the bath, fully clothed, in a very ill state."
In the interview he tells for the first time:
• He was so ill when informed of Dawn's death that he didn't know who she was
• Fifteen minutes after spraying on the Novichok disguised as perfume, Dawn fell violently ill
• He got some on his hands, but washed it off immediately, which is why he believes he survived
• He still collapsed foaming at the mouth within hours of being exposed
• He blames himself for his partner's death
• He can't go back home due to too many bad memories
In the candid interview he described Sturgess spraying the contaminated liquid on her wrists and rubbing them together.
"That's how she applied it and became ill. I guess how I got in contact with it is when I put the spray part to the bottle and I ended tipping some on my hands, but I washed it off under the tap.
"It had an oily substance and it smelled it and it didn't smell of perfume. It felt oily. I washed it off and I didn't think anything of it. It all happened so quick."
He added he found the perfume bottle in "Salisbury or Amesbury" and his memory surrounding the event was vague.
After Sturgess fell ill, Rowley dialled emergency services in "complete shock".
"I didn't know what to do. My first reaction was maybe she's just overreacting or something. But I could tell it was more than that. Within a minute I could tell she wasn't faking anything. She was having a proper attack of some sort.
"I was talking to her the whole time. I couldn't get any response. She was fading so quickly.
"It seemed like forever I was waiting for the ambulance to turn up. I felt helpless. I don't have great medical knowledge. I was talking to the person on the phone trying to do the best I could. It was all I could do."
The shocking interview comes after MailOnline revealed the first images of Rowley since the attack.
Grinning and looking healthy despite a slight limp he was captured on CCTV at a shop in central Salisbury buying lager.
Rowley and Sturgess were exposed to the same Novichok which left former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia fighting for life back in March.
The shopkeeper who served him, who asked not to be named, said: "I was surprised to see him come in but physically he looked as well as can be expected.
"I asked him how he was and he said 'bad' and the said 'I just wished Dawn hadn't picked up that bottle.'
"He then said, 'So, can you serve me alcohol now that I'm a famous person?'
"I asked him what his doctors had said and he replied that they said he could still drink.
"He said that he'd been drinking whisky for the last couple of days and wanted something different so bought four cans of Polish lager.
"He pulled out a bundle of notes, paid for the drinks and left.
"Other than a limp, he didn't seem to be in such bad health."
Sturgess died on July 8.
"In a way, I feel lucky I survived but I've lost so much," Rowley said.
"I feel very sad about what happened to her, it's awful and shocking. I was still on medication when they told me she passed away. I don't think I will ever be able to get over it."
It is believed Rowley found the bottle in Salisbury's Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which is nearby to where the Skripals were found after being poisoned.
Rowley vented his fury at the Russian agents who carelessly left the bottle of Novichok on the ground, saying it could have come into the hands of children.
Rowley has been taken to a police safehouse.
Officers have given him a special mobile phone number and banned him from watching television and from reading newspapers, his brother, Matthew Rowley, revealed.
Matthew Rowley, told The Mirror: "His legs are playing up and he can't really walk. He was up on Sunday but he is really weak still.
"I've been trying to push him for information but he has been through a really traumatic thing.
"It's difficult talking to him as he still can't really remember anything. He hasn't talked about Dawn and I don't want to ask because I'm trying to lift his spirits, not bring them down."
Matthew Rowley told the newspaper that his brother is "very lethargic" and "does not seem himself".