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‘Very emotional’ funeral held for novichok victim Dawn Sturgess

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A “very emotional” funeral service has been held for novichok victim Dawn Sturgess.

The 44-year-old, who died earlier this month after being exposed to the nerve agent, was mourned by family and friends at Salisbury Crematorium.

Reverend Philip Bromiley, who led the service, said Ms Sturgess’ life had been “really celebrated”, adding that special security measures expected to be in place were absent.

Among those who attended the service was Ms Sturgess’ partner Charlie Rowley, who also fell ill after exposure to novichok.

“Charlie was sat on the front row, obviously very emotional,” Mr Bromiley said.

Dawn Sturgess
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Dawn Sturgess died earlier this month

“It was lovely to see him there and I’m really hoping that the service will have given him a healing that he will doubtless need to have in the days and months to come.”

It was thought there would not be any pallbearers but Mr Bromiley said it was “absolutely straightforward – just like any other funeral”.

“I touched the coffin as I did the committal – there was nothing strange at all about it,” he said.

“The funeral directors handled the coffin in just the same way that anybody else would have handled the coffin.”

The service began with James Blunt’s song Beautiful Dawn, which Mr Bromiley said was “entirely appropriate”.

The hearse carrying Dawn Sturgess's coffin arrives at Salisbury Crematorium
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Extra security measures failed to materialise

There was a also a “time of reflection” during which mourners sang Into The Light.

Mr Bromiley said Ms Sturgess’ sister Claire delivered a “wonderful eulogy and sharing memories about her childhood, and sharing a room with Dawn”.

Ms Sturgess’ 11-year-old daughter also paid tribute, and got a “round of applause at the end of it, so she did incredibly well”.

“The music was lovely – it couldn’t have gone better,” Mr Bromiley said.

There were a “lot of people there”, he said, and numbers were “greater than the room – spilling out at the back”.



Charlie Rowley has said paid tribute to the girlfriend he "loved to bits"




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Rowley: ‘I just can’t process what happened’

Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were found unconscious on Saturday 30 June, with police later confirming they had been exposed to novichok.

Ms Sturgess died on 8 July, while Mr Rowley was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital on 20 July.

Mr Rowley has since said he recalled giving his partner a sealed bottle containing the deadly nerve agent, thinking it was perfume.

She went on to spray it on her wrists before they both fell ill in Mr Rowley’s home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

More from Amesbury poisoning

The 45-year-old said he could not remember where he found the perfume box but added that it “looked expensive”.

The exposure of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley to novichok came a few months after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were attacked with the nerve agent in nearby Salisbury.

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