Police officer poisoned in Sergei Skripal attack leaves hospital

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The police officer injured in the nerve agent attack on the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, has been discharged from hospital.

DS Nick Bailey called his own experience “surreal” but added: “I want people to focus on the investigation – not the police officer who was unfortunate enough to be caught up in it.”

He continued: “I understand why there is attention on me, but all I have done is represent every police officer who goes out there every day and puts their life at risk.”

His wife, Sarah, said: “Nick doesn’t like the term hero, but he has always been a hero to me and our children.

“This has quite simply been the most traumatic event of our life and it feels like our world has been turned upside down in a really short space of time.”

DS Bailey said: “We are just taking each day as it comes at the moment. I recognise that ‘normal’ life for me will probably never be the same, and Sarah and I now need to focus on finding a new normal for us and for our children.”

While Bailey was able to leave hospital, more details of the Skripals’ condition emerged in a court of protection judgment giving permission for blood to be taken from father and daughter to be analysed by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

It emerged in the judgment from Mr Justice Williams that both the Skripals remained “heavily sedated”. The judgment added: “The precise effect of their exposure on their long-term health remains unclear, albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree.”

Williams said Sergei Skripal was unable to communicate in any way and his daughter could not communicate in any meaningful way. He added: “It is not possible to say when or to what extent Mr or Ms Skripal may regain capacity. Both are currently in a physically stable condition which is not expected to change in the immediate or near future.

“They are both being treated on the basis that they would wish to be kept alive and to achieve optimal recovery and the treatment currently being given is aimed to achieve that. The hospital has not been approached by anyone known to the patients to inquire of their welfare.”

Salisbury NHS foundation trust said 48 people had sought advice from the hospital. All had been assessed and given health advice.

The chief constable of Wiltshire police, Kier Pritchard, read out the Baileys’ statements outside Salisbury district hospital.

Bailey, who was one of the officers involved in the initial response when the Skripals collapsed on 4 March in Salisbury city centre, said in his statement: “There are really no words to explain how I feel right now. Surreal is the word that keeps cropping up – and it really has been completely surreal.”

He paid tribute to hospital staff who had nursed him, but also the wider public: “One thing that has lifted me throughout the last few weeks has been the public support the police service has received during this incident.

“All the stories of community spirit – from the local businesses providing food and hot drinks to the officers standing for endless hours on the cordons, to the members of the public just showing their support for our work – have been quite simply overwhelming to hear about.”

Bailey added: “As I have begun to feel better, I have become aware of the widespread and enormous attention this whole incident has attracted. I find this really overwhelming. I am just a normal person with a normal life.”

Pritchard said the experience must have been “terrifying” for Bailey, adding: “Whilst most of the world has been fixated on the incident and the investigation, Nick has had to undergo significant medical treatment which has undoubtedly been very daunting for him, and for his family.”

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