Brave police officer left seriously ill after helping poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia named as Sergeant Nick Bailey

Sergeant Nick Bailey rushed to the aid of the former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and Yulia, 33, after they were found slumped unconscious on a shopping centre bench in Salisbury, Wilts.

All three were rushed to hospital where they slipped into a coma. Wiltshire Police confirmed tonight a total of 21 people are still being treated after the nerve agent was unleashed in Salisbury city centre on Sunday.

First cop on the scene, Sergeant Bailey – who joined Wiltshire Police in 2002 – remains seriously ill after giving CPR to Sergei and Yulia. The Russian pair are fighting for life.

Temporary Chief Constable Kier Pritchard, of Wiltshire Police, visited Sgt Bailey in hospital today along with his wife.

This morning Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed the officer was "talking and engaging".

What we know so far:

  • Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday
  • Police say they were deliberately targeted with a rare nerve agent
  • Cops believe the poison may have been slipped into a gift Yulia brought from Moscow
  • Spooks believe the Russians may have had their drinks spiked in a pub or a Zizzi's restaurant
  • Cops have sealed off Sergei's wife's grave amid fears she was poisoned too
  • It was claimed Yulia Skripal may have been poisoned after calling for Putin to be jailed on Facebook
  • Boris Johnson urged royals to boycott the Russian World Cup in retaliation

She added: "I'm more optimistic for him, but it's too early to say. This is a nerve agent.

"You know, we are still treating it as very serious."

Sergeant Bailey received an award in December 2016 after he helped snare a rapist who was jailed for more than 14 tears.

He worked for two years to build a case against Arthur Bonner, who sexually assaulted victims over four decades between the 1970s and 2014.

Counter terror cops are investigating the possibility that Kremlin-linked assassins slipped deadly sarin nerve gas into Sergei's present as daughter Yulia prepared to fly over from Moscow days earlier.

Another theory being probed is that the gas was sprayed into their faces or slipped into their drinks in Zizzi or the Mill pub.

It comes as dramatic photos show the moment a police officer crouched down next to the shopping centre bench where the pair were found in "catatonic" state.

Yesterday Amber Rudd confirmed that the brave cop's condition has improved, and he was "engaged and talking."

But docs fear that former military intelligence officer Skripal is on the brink of death.

A Whitehall source told The Times: “The feeling is that he is not going to make it out of this.

“I think it could be more positive [for Yulia]. They are hopeful that she might be able to pull through."

The police officer’s condition is thought to be less severe than the other two patients.

Meanwhile, cops have today sealed off Sergei's wife's grave amid fears she was poisoned too.

Earlier pics emerged of Sergei and Yulia raising a glass for the camera at Zizzi in a picture believed to have been taken in 2016.

The Russian dad and daughter were "targeted specifically" when they were dosed by a deadly nerve agent, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley confirmed yesterday.

Last night security sources told The Sun that the poison could only have been produced in a handful of labs worldwide – including the Russian government's notorious Yasenevo complex.

Tory MP and ex-Army officer Bob Seely said: “In my mind now, there is now no doubt this was a hit ordered by Putin, and by using something complex they’re effectively showing off.

“We’re now in public execution territory. The Russians are basically saying, they don’t care who knows it was them. It is a very alarming development.”

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, ex-commander of the Army’s chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear regiment, said: “All the circumstances point in the direction of sarin. It’s very toxic and the symptoms displayed tally with its effects.”

It comes as a fellow Russian exile Valery Morozov claimed that Skripal was not retired – and regularly met with Kremlin officials at the Russian Embassy.

He told Channel 4 News: “If you have a military intelligence officer living after retirement in the UK every month going to the embassy to meet military intelligence officers.

"For me being political refugee, I thought that this contact might not be very good for me because it can bring some questions from British officials."

Last night it was claimed that Skripal was close to a security consultant who worked for the company that compiled the explosive "dirty dossier" on Donald Trump.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the unnamed consultant lived near Skripal and knew him for some time.

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