Officer hospitalized in UK spy poisoning case released from hospital

Meanwhile, inspectors were allowed to take the poisoned spy's blood samples.

March 22, 2018, 2:14 PM

LONDON -- The police officer who was injured when responding to a poisoned former Russian spy earlier this month had been discharged from the hospital, U.K. authorities said.

Detective Sgt. Nick Bailey was hospitalized for several weeks in connection with the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter. Hospital officials and police announced Bailey's release Thursday afternoon in Salisbury, England.

"People ask me how I am feeling -- but there are really no words to explain how I feel right now," Bailey said in a statement released by police in Wiltshire, England. "Surreal is the word that keeps cropping up -- and it really has been completely surreal."

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrive to begin work at the scene of the nerve agent attack on former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, Britain March 21, 2018.
Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Earlier Thursday, a British judge gave doctors permission to take blood samples from former Russian spy Sergei Skirpal and his daughter Yulia Skirpal following a special hearing in a specialist court in London.

The samples were being taken in order to be tested by chemical weapons investigators for nerve agent residue. Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were in the U.K. this week to investigate the Skripals' poisoning.

A team believed to be from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspects the back garden of house on the road where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal lived in Salisbury Wiltshire, Britain, March 22, 2018.
Will Oliver/EPA via Shutterstock

The United Kingdom's Court of Protection considered the decision because, according to the presiding judge, the Skirpals were unconscious and unable to give permission themselves.

The Skirpals remain hospitalized. Sergei was "unable to communicate in any way" while Yulia was "unable to communicate in any meaningful way," according to court documents. The pair are in critical but stable condition, according to hospital officials.

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, looks on inside the defendants' cage as he attends a hearing at the Moscow military district court, Russia, Aug. 9, 2006.

It was "not possible to say when or to what extent" they may "regain capacity," the court said in its decision. "The precise effect of their exposure on their long-term health remains unclear albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree," the court added.

The U.K. has accused Russia of being behind the poisoning of Sergei, a former Russian intelligence officer who has been living in England, and his daughter. British authorities have said a nerve agent was used. Russia has denied the allegations.