Today, Chief Constable Kier Pritchard read the below statements on behalf of Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey and his wife Sarah, during a press conference held at Salisbury District Hospital. CC Pritchard also read a statement on behalf of the Force.
The statement from Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey read, “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.
“As for what happens now – we are just taking each day as it comes at the moment.
“I recognise that ‘normal’ life for me will probably never be the same – and Sarah and I now need to focus on finding a new normal for us and for our children.
“What I need now is time to re-group, recover and most importantly spend time with my loved ones. I do understand and appreciate the attention on this incident, but I would ask people to put themselves in my shoes. I want to respectfully ask the media for privacy for me and my family at this time and for no intrusion into my private life, so that my family and I can try to come to terms with what has happened.
“Thank you so much for all of your support.”
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey’s wife, Sarah said, “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.
“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.”
Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard’s statement said, “Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to Nick and his family. None of us could begin to understand just how terrifying the last few weeks must have been for them.
“Whilst most of the world has been fixated on the incident and the investigation, Nick has had to undergo significant medical treatment which has undoubtedly been very daunting for him, and for his family.
“I have personally been amazed at Nick’s strength and resilience. He really is a credit to Wiltshire Police and the wider police family.
“This incident, although extremely unusual, has highlighted some of the complexities of modern day policing and the willingness of police officers, staff and volunteers to always put others first. Nick was part of the initial response to what was, primarily, an unknown incident and he inadvertently put himself in harm’s way whilst simply carrying out his role.
“Nick, quite rightly, now wants to spend time with his wife Sarah, their children and their wider family. I ask that members of the media please respect these wishes. I understand how much interest this case has attracted but please remember Nick and his family have been through a hugely traumatic ordeal and therefore deserve complete privacy to recover from what they have been through.
“Secondly, I would like to reiterate Nick and his family’s thanks to 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.
“At this stage I would like to say that our thoughts and prayers equally remain with Sergei and Yulia Skripal and their family.
“Finally, as eloquently put by Nick’s wife Sarah within her statement, the response from the wider police family has been exceptional. Nick and Sarah have been inundated with messages of support from officers, staff and volunteers from across the country and beyond. I know they have been truly touched and humbled by this outpouring of support and I would like to echo their thanks – I know this has really helped them get through this extremely challenging time.
“The number of messages of support from the public has also been wonderful to see and I thank them too. They have not only meant a lot to Nick and Sarah, but I know they will have also meant a great deal to all police officers, staff and volunteers up and down the country.
“Nick will now take some much deserved time away with his wife and children and I would ask once more that they are afforded privacy at this time.
“The complex investigation into the attempted murders of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal continues.
“The investigation is highly likely to take many months and where it is operationally possible, updates will be issued to the media. We thank the public for their continued support.
“Anyone who has any information which could assist the investigation is asked to call police on 101.”