Salisbury spy attack officer Nick Bailey discharged from hospital

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey has been released from hospital. Credit: Wiltshire Police

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, the police officer who was poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent while working on the investigation into the targeted attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, has been discharged from hospital.

Both Sergei, 66, and 33-year-old Yulia Skripal remain in critical but stable conditions in hospital.

In a statement read out by Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, Det Sgt Bailey said his "life will never be the same again" following his exposure to the poison more than two weeks ago.

He continued that he has been "overwhelmed" by the support he has received during what has been a "surreal" experience and paid tribute to the "phenomenal" care he had received while in hospital "from the man that cleans the floor to the doctors giving the treatment".

Det Sgt Bailey also praised the public, saying their support "has lifted me throughout the last few weeks", especially that shown to other police officers.

The Skripals remain in Salisbury District Hospital. Credit: ITV News

Det Sgt Bailey thanked the community, "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".

Det Sgt Bailey's wife, Sarah, also praised the support the family had received in the wake of the incident, and praised her husband as a "hero".

"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," Ms Bailey said in a statement read out by Chief Con Pritchard.

"I am so grateful for the support from our immediate family and friends and the police family liaison officers through this last few weeks - I really don't know how I would have coped without them.

"I never really realised what the term 'police family' was all about until this incident - but now I really do.

"All the messages we have received from the police family have been so heart-warming and have meant so very much to me, I can't put it into words.

"Nick doesn't like the term hero, but he has always been a hero to me and our children."

Yulia and Sergei Skripal remain critically ill in hospital.
  • Below is the full statement from Det Sgt Bailey

People ask me how I am feeling - but 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. I have been so very overwhelmed by the support, cards and messages I have received - everyone has been so incredible.> Some days we've had about 300 messages from officers, the wider police family and the public. The level of support has been unbelievable and I've tried to respond to what I can, but I want to say I have really appreciated every single message. 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. I want to pay tribute and give my absolute and heartfelt thanks to the staff of Salisbury District Hospital. The care I have received from the medical staff has been simply outstanding from day one - from the man that cleans the floor to the doctors giving the treatment - they have all been absolutely phenomenal. Thank you just doesn't seem enough and just doesn't convey the gratitude I feel for what they have done for me.> I have spent all my time since the incident really focusing on trying to get better and trying not to think about anything else. But 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, and I don't want my wife, children, family or I to be part of that attention. I do hope the public can understand that. I want people to focus on the investigation - not the police officer who was unfortunate enough to be caught up in it. 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.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey

After reading out the statements from the Bailey's, Chief Con Pritchard praised Det Sgt Bailey and said he had been "personally been amazed at Nick's strength and resilience.

"He really is a credit to Wiltshire Police and the wider police family."

Chief Con Pritchard also praised "the incredible staff at Salisbury District Hospital.

"They have done, and continue to do, a truly amazing job under intense national and international focus.

"Their dedication and professionalism is simply inspiring."

He continued that "our thoughts and prayers equally remain with Sergei and Yulia Skripal and their family".

Investigations in Salisbury are expected to carry on for 'many months'. Credit: PA

Finishing the update outside Salisbury General Hospital, Chief Con Pritchard said the "complex investigation" into the attempted murders of the Skripals is "highly likely to take many months".

He added that anyone with any information on the attack should contact police on 101.

In a tweet, John Glen, the MP for Salisbury said he was "very pleased" to hear that Det Sgt Bailey had been discharged, adding that "everyone in Salisbury owes him a debt of gratitude for the bravery he has shown in the line of duty".

Det Sgt Bailey's discharge came on the same day that a Court of Protection judge gave permission for blood samples to be taken from the Skripals so that tests can be carried out by chemical weapons experts.

Meanwhile, at a summit of the European Council, Theresa May pressed the leaders of the other 27 EU member states for a united statement condemning the Russian attack.

While back in London, Russia's ambassador Alexander Yakovenko condemned Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's comparison between Vladimir Putin hosting this summer's World Cup with Hitler's 1936 Olympics as an "insult" to the Russian people.

Mr Yakovenko said: "The British government is free to make a decision about its participation in the World Cup but nobody has the right to insult the Russian people who defeated Nazism and lost more than 25 million people by comparing our country to Nazi Germany.

"That goes beyond common sense and we don’t think British war veterans including those of the Arctic convoys would share this opinion."

He added that official statements on the poisoning had been "wild" and the UK had "built its official position on pure assumptions".