Sir Salman Rushdie was 'nearly decapitated' in stabbing frenzy

Sir Salman Rushdie was "nearly decapitated" when he was attacked in a frenzied stabbing.

The 76-year-old author was left critically injured after he was knifed repeatedly onstage just moments before he was due to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in New York state in August 2022 - and now his wife Rachel Eliza Griffiths, 45, has given her account of his horrific injuries which she saw for the first time after rushing to the hospital to be by his side.

In an essay published in the Guardian newspaper, she wrote: "His fingernails are caked with blood. The side of his face that suffered the most damage is a dizzying railroad track of stitching.

"His right ear is nearly pulp. His right eye is covered. The ventilator curves up out of his blue lips. His complexion is a palette of blue, grey, red, purple, yellow and black. Across his bald head is a long, angry slash ...

"Fortunately, the knife did not puncture any organs, though it went across Salman’s throat, grazing his trachea, nearly decapitating him.

"When a nurse lifts the gauze over Salman’s right eye, I see his entire eyeball, swollen and smashed, sitting in its cracked socket, bursting from a sliced eyelid ... No one needs to tell me that my husband has lost this eye."

In the book, Rachel reveals she was at home when she found out about the attack and she was so shocked, she fell down the stairs. She chartered a private jet to whisk her to the hospital where her husband was undergoing life-saving treatment and she stayed by his side until he woke up.

The stabbing came just 11 months after the couple married in a secret ceremony and she admitted she felt unprepared to be thrust into the spotlight in the days after the attack while she also suffered "intense post-traumatic stress disorder" afterwards.

The novelist underwent eight hours of surgery. He lost an eye and suffered multiple stab wounds to areas of his face, neck, chest and hand, remaining under the care of doctors for 18 days before starting three weeks of rehabilitation treatment.

Rachel explained that after her husband recovered and was well enough to be discharged from his rehabilitation clinic, they left in the middle of the night and decided they did not feel safe enough to return to their home - going instead to an apartment which had been lent to them by friends.

She concluded: "I do not thank or forgive the knife that nearly killed my husband. But I will always celebrate the forces of good that brought him back home to me."

Hadi Matar, 24, was arrested on suspicion of attacking the author and later pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and assault. He is currently behind bars awaiting trial.