22 March 2018
A police officer who fell ill after being exposed to the nerve agent used on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter has been discharged from hospital. Det Sgt Nick Bailey was left seriously ill after responding to the attack on Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, in Salisbury earlier this month. The pair remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
Det Sgt Bailey said that "normal life for me will probably never be the same" as he also thanked hospital staff.
He said in a statement that there were "no words" to explain how he felt, adding: "It really has been completely surreal".
He added: "I have been so very overwhelmed by the support, cards and messages I have received - everyone has been so incredible." His wife, Sarah, said: "This has quite simply been the most traumatic event of our lives and it feels like our world has been turned upside down in a really short space of time."
Another policeman who responded to the attack on 4 March is being treated as an outpatient by Salisbury District Hospital, the BBC understands. Since the incident, nearly 50 other people had sought medical advice from the hospital. Earlier, Theresa May said the Salisbury attack was "part of a pattern of Russian aggression against Europe". The prime minister told a summit of EU leaders in Brussels that the Russia "threat" did not respect borders, as she stressed the need to stand together.
Cara Charles-Barks, chief executive of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said medical staff were "working around the clock" to care for the Skripals. A judge has said it is unclear if the pair, who were found slumped on a shopping centre bench in Salisbury, would fully recover from the nerve agent attack. Judge David Williams, of the Court of Protection, said their mental capacity may have been compromised to an "unknown" degree.
The court, which hears issues affecting the welfare of sick or vulnerable people, has given doctors permission to take blood samples from the Skripals to send to chemical weapons experts. A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which arrived in the UK earlier this week, will conduct the tests. Delivering the ruling, Judge Williams said: "Medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree." He said no-one known to Mr and Ms Skripal had approached the hospital where they were being cared for to "inquire of their welfare".
David Ibbott, chair of Wiltshire Police Federation, said:
“We are happy to confirm that our friend and colleague Nick Bailey has been released from hospital. This is a huge relief for our force and our number one priority is to ensure Nick and his family have all the support and care they need while they are coming to terms with what has happened. They have been deeply moved by the outpouring of goodwill messages from both the public and the media however we would ask that their privacy is respected at this time. We expect it to be a continued period of convalescence for Nick and we will give all assistance and help in any way we can. The Wiltshire Police Federation and his colleagues continue to wish him the very best and look forward to Nick having a speedy recovery.”
Calum Macleod, Chair for the Police Federation of England and Wales said:
“I am delighted to hear the news of Nick’s release from hospital. We wish him all the best while on the road to a full recovery. This is a relief for the police family in Wiltshire and the news is welcomed by the force and beyond. We will ensure all support is available to Nick, his family and colleagues through the local federation. Nick and his family have been through a very traumatic experience and while they are coming to terms with what happened, we ask the media and public to respect their privacy at this time and give them the space they need.”