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Teenage girl was first to help Skripals after novichok poisoning

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A teenage girl was the first person to come to the aid of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia when they collapsed on a bench after being poisoned with a nerve agent, it has emerged.

Abigail McCourt, 16, has spoken about how she and her family rushed to the aid of the former intelligence officer in Salisbury on 5 March last year after being celebrated as a local hero.

Miss McCourt saw Mr Skripal and his daughter collapsed on a bench at The Maltings shopping centre and believed he had suffered a heart attack.

Alongside her mother Alison, who is an Army colonel and chief nursing officer, the teenager went to deliver first aid – for which she has won an award.

“It was my brother’s birthday and we were out celebrating, and we were coming home and I saw them on the bench,” Abigail told Spire FM, which is based in Salisbury and running the awards campaign.

“At this point people were still walking past and I don’t think anyone had really noticed them. I told my mum because I thought he was having a heart attack. We went over and it developed from there.

“We went home and the next day I was talking to some of my friends about it, and at break someone Snapchatted me and said, ‘Is this the thing you were talking about?’, and I was ‘OK, wow’.

“I was a bit shocked, to be honest, because I don’t think I was expecting near that to have happened. I needed to phone my mum and see if she was OK. It was a bit surreal.”

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were attacked with novichok and found slumped on a bench in Salisbury in March
Image:
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury

The teenager had to be tested in hospital to see if she had picked up any of the nerve agent after intervening.

Abigail said: “It just all helped and I did make a massive difference, I think, because the woman wasn’t breathing at the time we found her.

“If someone is in trouble you have got to do something, and I don’t think you really question it at all.”

Sergei and Yulia Skripal both fell seriously ill after the poisoning, but have both since made a recovery.

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