Poisoned detective: 'I was treated like novichok assassin'

‘I was accused of being the novichok assassin’: Former detective who was poisoned by the deadly nerve agent on Sergei Skripal’s door handle reveals HE was named as carrying out the plot to kill the Russian double agent

  • Nick Bailey was accused of being the assassin who killed Sergei and Yulia Skripal
  • It is not clear who made the accusations against the ex Wiltshire police detective
  • British authorities have blamed the attack on three Russian intelligence officers
  • Revelation made in Discovery Plus documentary about the 2018 novichok attack

The policeman poisoned by novichok has revealed he was accused of being the assassin who tried to kill Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Nick Bailey, a former detective sergeant, also said he was surprised local authorities in Salisbury were not made aware that an ex-spy was living among them.

Mr Skripal and his daughter were found ill on a bench near Salisbury Cathedral on March 4, 2018 after being poisoned with nerve agent novichok.

Mr Bailey, 41, then came into contact with the military-grade chemical after he was sent to the Skripals’ home in the city – where it had been sprayed on the front door handle.

Nick Bailey, the policeman poisoned by novichok, has revealed he was accused of being the assassin who tried to kill Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018

Four months later, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after she found a perfume bottle containing novichok and sprayed it on her wrist. Her boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, fell critically ill but recovered.

The suspected assassins – Russian intelligence officers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin – were caught on CCTV as they travelled from Moscow to the Wiltshire cathedral city.

A third suspect, senior Russian agent Denis Sergeev, was believed to be the on-the-ground commander. All three fled back to Russia after their failed murder attempt.

The former officer’s revelations were made in a Discovery Plus documentary Secrets of the Salisbury Poisonings, to be screened on Boxing Day, which delves into the attack.

During the 90-minute show, Mr Bailey said: ‘I was just a normal guy, normal police officer doing his job, and Sunday, March 4, 2018, happened and it changed my life forever.’

He said he returned home after a 16-hour shift sweating and exhausted. ‘I remember as well, my pupils were quite small but didn’t think any more of it,’ he said.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found on a bench together close to Salisbury Cathedral on the afternoon of March 4 having been poisoned with nerve-agent novichok

While unwell on Monday, it was the following day he woke hallucinating and sweating in what he calls ‘a tsunami of pure heat and fire’ following which he was admitted to A&E.

‘Even the staff at the hospital were scared about how this was going to work and what was going on. It was pure terror,’ he said.

‘I cried a lot because I was so scared. I thought it’s only a matter of time before I slip into a coma and die.’

He was in hospital for 17 days, remaining conscious throughout.

However, against a backdrop of ever wilder conspiracy theories claimed by Russian authorities, Mr Bailey said his reputation was smeared as part of disinformation campaign.

‘At one point I was accused of being the assassin. I was accused of being Sergei’s handler. I was accused of working for MI6.’

However, the documentary did not elaborate on who made the accusations against Mr Bailey.

Pictured: CCTV image issued by the Metropolitan Police of Russian Nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov (right) on Fisherton Road, Salisbury at 13:05hrs on March 4 2018

He also recalled his frustration and anger when the team discovered Mr Skripal was a former Russian spy – and a former double agent working for MI6.

‘He chose Salisbury, or MI6 chose Salisbury for him,’ Mr Bailey said. ‘And I did think, why was the former Russian spy living in Salisbury and how we did not know that he was there? Surely, we should have been made aware? By all accounts no one knew.’

Mr Bailey’s wife Sarah and the couple’s two children have had to leave the family home after traces of novichok were found in almost every room in the house. He added: ‘They lost everything that meant something to them.’

While Mr Bailey has since made a full physical recovery, he has been haunted by flashbacks and after attempting on three occasions to return to his policing career, he retired on ill-health grounds in October 2018.

He joined Wiltshire Police in 2002 and was a key player in taking down Salisbury rapist Arthur Bonner, who had been at large for some 40 years before his conviction and imprisonment in 2016.

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