UK authorities have identified the police officer who was injured when he came to the aid of a Russian spy and his daughter who were attacked with a deadly, rare nerve agent.
Sergeant Nick Bailey has been identified as the officer who helped former Russian military intelligence service colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal after finding them slumped on a park bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on Sunday.
Acting Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Kier Pritchard, said Mr Bailey remains in a critical condition after giving mouth to mouth to one of the victims, but is conscious and talking.
“I did go and see Nick today and I met Nick and his wife at the hospital in the intensive care unit,” Chief Constable Pritchard said.
“I’ve known Nick for many years, he’s a great character, he’s a huge presence in Wiltshire Police – well liked, well loved, a massively dedicated officer. He’s clearly receiving high specialist treatment.
“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.
“All of our staff that attended the incident in Salisbury in the Maltings, they performed the role that police officers and police staff do every day up and down the country. Limited information, responded to try and protect people and safeguard people who we knew were ill.
“I’m massively proud of what Nick did and all of my staff on that night, they did a first-class job.”
Mr Pritchard also thanked the numerous people who paid tribute to their “courageous” friend.
Thank you for the huge number of messages of support for our injured officer in hospital. We all wish for a full and speedy recovery #proud
— Kier Pritchard (@wiltspoliceCC) March 8, 2018
The news comes as a British police official has updated the number of people who sought treatment after the nerve agent attack, saying “around 21” had been given medical help and support.
Authorities haven’t said who launched the attack, but UK officials have warned of a strong response if the Russian government is found to be responsible.
“Multiple people have been treated, around 21 people, including the man and the woman found on the bench,” Mr Pritchard told Sky News, referring to Mr Skripal and his daughter, who were found unconscious.
Mr Pritchard said that of the new total, “a number” of them got hospital treatment including blood tests, support and advice. Previously, authorities had said only that “several” people had sought treatment.
Police haven’t provided details on the nerve agent that was used, and the ex-spy and his daughter remain in critical condition.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said whoever is behind the attack is guilty of a “brazen and reckless act.” She said Britain would respond strongly when it is clear who’s to blame.