The brother of the Wiltshire man left critically ill after being poisoned with a nerve agent has revealed doctors feared he would not survive and said the impact of the novichok had left his sibling looking like a skeleton.
Charlie Rowley’s brother, Matthew, has told the Guardian he wiggled his brother’s toes when he visited him at Salisbury district hospital on Wednesday but could not get closer to him as he was hooked up to machines and tubes.
Matthew Rowley said his brother became tearful when they mentioned Charlie’s partner, Dawn Sturgess, who has died, and he changed the subject.
But Matthew Rowley said his brother, his only sibling, smiled when, wearing protective clothing and gloves, he first walked into his hospital room.
His comments came as it was revealed that Charlie Rowley was conscious and speaking to detectives about his ordeal.
He said: “It was quite shocking. I hardly recognised him, to tell the truth. He’s not the Charles I know. He’s awake. He’s talking, making sense, but he’s like a skeleton. He couldn’t lift his head off the pillow. We managed to have a little laugh with the nurses.
“The nurses say he’s getting stronger. It was upsetting, just seeing him in that condition. He was slurring a bit but he was trying his best. I would imagine he’s on an awful lot of drugs.”
Charlie Rowley spent days in a coma after being taken seriously ill on Saturday 30 June at his home in Amesbury, Wiltshire.
He is is under guard in hospital and may have information with significant implications for public safety, national security and UK relations with Russia, which has been blamed for the use of novichok on British soil.