First picture of daughter targeted with her Russian spy father in suspected Salisbury poison attack

The first picture of the daughter of a former Russian double agent who is fighting for her life in hospital with her father has emerged.

Yulia Skripal, 33, was the victim of a suspected poison attack along with her father, Sergei, 66, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday.

They were both found unconscious on a bench in the city after they collapsed.

Police are examining potentially crucial CCTV evidence taken in the hours before they became ill and also closed pizza restaurant Zizzi in Castle Street, which was “secured as a precaution” on Monday night, leading to fears that one or both of them may have dined there.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, are both in hospital (Pictures: AP/Facebook)

Counter Terrorism Police have now taken over the investigation from Wiltshire Police.

The father and daughter were found slumped unconscious on a bench near a children’s play area about 100 yards away, close to The Maltings shopping centre.

It was reported that Yulia lives in Russia but was visiting her father in the UK.

According to her Facebook page, she works for the Pepsico drinks company in Moscow.

Two officers who dealt with the incident were treated in hospital on Monday for minor symptoms, including itchy eyes and wheezing, it has emerged.

Police stand guard outside the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Tuesday (Picture: PA)

Wiltshire Police said a small number of emergency services staff were also treated, and one remains in hospital. Police have also secured the Bishop’s Mill pub in The Maltings.

Although the pizza restaurant was closed, Public Health England do not believe there is a risk to the public. However, officials said anyone who feels ill should contact 111.

Meanwhile, the UK’s top counter-terrorism officer said his team are supporting the investigation.

Officers in regular uniforms and plain clothes spoke to staff inside Zizzi and worked in tents in the area where the pair were found. Police are also searching Skripal’s home in Salisbury.

A CCTV image of a man and woman walking through an alleyway connecting the Zizzi restaurant and the bench where Skripal was found is believed to be of interest to police.

Police search the branch of Zizzi where it is feared one or both of the victims may have dined (Picture: PA)

Police took away an image, shot at 3:47pm on Sunday, of a pair in footage, from a camera at Snap Fitness 24/7, according to the gym’s manager, who showed the footage to the Press Association.

Cain Prince, 28, said: “Police had a good look at the footage and were interested in these two people. It was the only image they took away.

“They wanted a list of everyone in the gym between 3pm and 4pm as well.”


Mr Prince added police said Skripal was “wearing a green coat”.

Freya Church, 27, who spotted the pair “slumped” and “passed out” on the bench said the couple in the CCTV images were “100%” the people she saw on Sunday.

The gym worker, from Salisbury, said: “She was leaning on him, slumped.

“She looked passed out and he was looking up doing these hand movements (gesticulating upwards with arms).

“His eyes were glazed. To be honest I thought they were just homeless.”

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson warned that Britain will respond “robustly” if evidence emerges that Russia was involved in the incident.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, he said: “While it would be wrong to prejudge the investigation, I can reassure the House that should evidence emerge that implies state responsibility, then Her Majesty’s Government will respond appropriately and robustly.”

Mr Johnson said it was clear that Russia is now “in many respects a malign and disruptive force and the UK is in the lead across the world in trying to counteract that activity”.

If suspicions about the events in Salisbury prove to be well-founded, the Government may be forced to look again at its sanctions regime, he added.

This CCTV image was captured in Salisbury on Sunday (Picture: PA)

Mr Johnson also threatened to withdraw England’s delegation of visiting dignitaries to this summer’s football World Cup in Russia.

He said if Russia was found to be involved in what happened in Salisbury, “it will be difficult to see how UK representation at the World Cup can go ahead”.

Skripal was convicted in 2006 of passing state secrets to MI6 before being given refuge in the UK as part of a spy swap between Russia and the US in 2010, a deal which included Russian agent and socialite Anna Chapman, who was married to a British man and lived in London for several years.

Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who was sentenced to 13 years in prison, was among four convicts who were given pardons and one of two sent to Britain in 2010 in a deal that was said at the time to be the largest exchange since the Cold War.

Yulia Skripal, 33, was visiting her father in the UK (Picture: Facebook)
Sergei Skripal was convicted by Russia in 2006 (Picture: AP)

Skripal was convicted in Russia on charges of giving information to Britain’s MI6.

He was accused of passing intelligence to MI6 by using a fake rock hidden in a park in Moscow.

Agents would walk past it and transmit data using a hidden handheld device.

Wiltshire Police said officers were as yet “unable to ascertain” whether the pair, who are both in critical condition in intensive care, have been victims of a crime.

A spokesman for Public Health England (PHE) said anyone exposed to the unknown substance had been decontaminated “as is standard practice in situations like this”.

The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has said the events in Salisbury are like “deja vu”.

Wiltshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Kier Pritchard addresses media outside Wiltshire Police Headquarters as counter-terror police took over the investigation. (PA)

Marina Litvinenko’s husband, a Russian dissident who became a British citizen, died aged 43 in November 2006, three weeks after he drank tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, central London.

A public inquiry concluded in 2016 that the killing of Mr Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, had “probably” been carried out with the approval of the Russian president.

Mrs Litvinenko told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight: “It’s like deja vu, (like) what happened to me 11 years ago.”

She added: “In Russia it is still (an) old-fashioned and old-style KGB system… It’s still all the same. If there is an order to kill somebody it will happen.”

The Mill pub in Salisbury near to where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was found critically ill. (PA)

The Litvinenko inquiry, headed by the former high court judge Sir Robert Owen, found two Russian men – Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun – had deliberately poisoned their victim, leading to an agonising death.

It said the use of the radioactive substance – which could only have come from a nuclear reactor – was a “strong indicator” of state involvement and that the two men had probably been acting under the direction of the FSB, Russia’s state agency.

The UK’s top counter-terrorism officer said his specialists were supporting the investigation.

Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “Clearly it’s a very unusual case and the critical thing is to get to the bottom of what has caused this incident as quickly as possible.

“As you would expect, the specialist resources that sit within the counter-terrorism network that I coordinate across the country and other partners are working with Wiltshire Police to get to the bottom of that as quickly as possible.”

The pair were found slumped on a bench (Picture: PA)

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If you look back at other cases like (Alexander) Litvinenko, if necessary we will bring that investigation into the counter-terrorism network.

“At the moment the key is, though, to get to the bottom of what caused this.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Mr Skripal’s illness a “tragic situation” but added “we don’t have any information”.

He said no-one had approached them for help in the investigation but said “Moscow is always open to cooperation”.

Threat: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, pictured today, said England could pull delegates from the Russian World Cup in the wake of the poisoning scandal. (PA)

Asked about the link being made in the media between Mr Skripal and the death of Mr Litvinenko, Mr Peskov said: “It didn’t take them long.”

While the incident in Salisbury is shrouded in mystery, it comes at a time of major tension in UK-Russian relations.

A report from the Commons Foreign Affairs committee last year describing the relationship between the two countries as being at “its most strained point since the end of the Cold War”.

And in evidence to the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, MI6 described the Russian state as “formidable adversaries”.

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