'˜Very anxious' police officer recovers from nerve agent attack

The police officer who rushed to the aid of a Russian ex-spy targeted with a nerve agent is 'very anxious' as he recovers in hospital, his chief constable said.

Emergency services cover the bench where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found. Picture: Getty

Wiltshire Police named the officer as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who is still in a serious condition following the attack in which a chemical weapon was used in an attempt on the lives of Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia.

Police thanked well-wishers for their support for the officer, while the force’s temporary chief constable Kier Pritchard said: “I have just left the bedside of our officer and family in hospital. Conveyed all our thoughts and wishes, an amazingly courageous officer.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said DS Bailey, who joined the force in 2002 and was commended in 2016 for his work on a rape investigation, was “well liked, well loved, a massively dedicated officer”.

He said: “He’s well, he’s sat up. He is not the Nick that I know but of course he’s receiving a high level of treatment. He’s in the safe hands of the medical professionals working in Salisbury District so I’m very confident he’s getting the best professional support that he can.

“Of course he’s very anxious, he’s very concerned. He did his very best on that night.”

It comes amid a flurry of activity in Salisbury, where police sealed off the gravestone of Mr Skripal’s wife Liudmila, who was buried in 2012, and the memorial stone of his son, Alexander, who was cremated last year.

They are located at separate sites in the London Road Cemetery with each guarded by a police officer.

Hundreds of investigators, led by counter-terror police, are working to find out who is responsible for what is feared to be a sophisticated plot amid heightened tensions between Britain and Russia.

Earlier yesterday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the use of a chemical weapon on UK soil was a “brazen and reckless act” and the government stood ready to act as a clearer picture emerged.

And Prime Minister Theresa May, asked whether the action taken if Russia was found to be responsible could include the expulsion of its ambassador, said: “We will do what is appropriate, we will do what is right, if it is proved to be the case that this is state-sponsored.

“But let’s give the police the time and space to actually conduct their investigation.”

Addressing the House of Commons earlier, Ms Rudd said: “This was attempted murder in the most cruel and public way.”