Following a family lunch Cadet Lance Corporal Abigail McCourt, aged 15, noticed two people behaving oddly on a bench in Salisbury city center. She thought the man was having chest pains or a heart attack. She alerted her family and told her father to call the emergency services. She asked her mother, a trained nurse, to help her give first aid. Abigail and her mother assessed a casualty each and this information was then relayed to the emergency services. The woman was unconscious, fitting and foaming at the mouth with an obstructed airway, and the man was semi-conscious and seemingly paralysed.
The woman was lowered to the ground and Abigail placed her in the recovery position. She monitored the woman until further help arrived. The scene was awash with bodily fluids and the clinical presentations of the two casualties was alarming and Abigail was told to step back so that she didn’t become contaminated. She initially did so but as the casualties deteriorated she repeatedly stepped forward to provide first aid. Abigail put the care of the casualties above her own safety and was determined to help them even though she had no protective clothing or gloves. Afterwards she and her mother washed their hands in the snow and then when they got home they showered and washed all their clothing. At the time Abigail and her mother were not aware that this was the notorious Novichok nerve agent attack on the Skripal family, and their prompt actions to decontaminate may well have prevented further injury.