THE police officer poisoned in the Salisbury attack went home from hospital yesterday — but said his life will never be the same again.
Det Sgt Nick Bailey was discharged by doctors almost three weeks after being exposed to a deadly nerve agent.
But it emerged that Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the targets of the attack, could be left permanently brain damaged even if they survive. Mr Bailey, who gave them first aid after they collapsed on a bench, played down his role and praised the NHS staff who helped him to recover.
In a statement read on his behalf by Wiltshire chief constable Kier Pritchard, he said: ‘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. I recognise “normal” life for me will probably never be the same — and my wife Sarah and I need to focus on finding a new normal for us and our children.’
His wife said in the statement: ‘This has been the most traumatic event of our life. Nick doesn’t like the term hero but he has always been a hero to me and our children.’
Mr Bailey said he had been overwhelmed by the cards and messages he received in hospital. He offered his ‘heartful thanks’ to staff.
A judge gave consent yesterday for blood to be taken from ex-KGB double agent Mr Skripal, 66, and daughter Yulia, 33, who are both in comas and heavily sedated. It will allow weapons experts to perform tests. The High Court heard the victims, targets of a murder bid said to have been ordered by the Kremlin, were poisoned with Russian-developed novichok or a ‘closely related agent’.
Mr Justice Williams said: ‘Tests indicate their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree. At present, they are both critical but stable — it is not inconceivable that their condition could rapidly deteriorate.’
Investigators thought to be from the international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were working in Mr Skripal’s back garden yesterday.
■ AN INQUEST into the death of Russian exile Nikolai Glushkov, 68, has been opened and adjourned at West London Coroner’s Court, where it was confirmed he died from ‘compression to the neck’. His body was found at his New Malden home on March 12, and police launched a murder investigation four days later.