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By John Helmer, Moscow 

Each time former Wiltshire police sergeant Nicholas Bailey (lead image, right) tries to advertise his availability to tell his story for the Crown and for the money, he adds tiny details contradicting the official British government narrative that he was the victim of a Russian state attempt to use the Novichok nerve agent to kill Sergei Skripal on March 4, 2018.

He also adds volumes to the evidence that it was the fabrication of the Novichok story, and the deceit and camouflage Bailey has been ordered to portray, which caused what Bailey now describes as “grieving for my former self”, “griev[ing] for my job as well”, “everything crumbling around me”, “massive impact on my marriage”, “major setbacks”, and “[being] consumed by this upset and anger”. He is emphatic: “I don’t want to be known as the poisoned cop.”  

Bailey is selling pep talks to managers dealing with disgruntled employees with lines like “give yourself a break… be happy and content with what you’ve got and who you are”.  What his lawyers and PR agents are telling the Wiltshire police and the Home Office in London is that lying requires much more than the medical retirement pension Bailey was paid last year when he was invalided out of the force.  

Bailey has followed a 74-minute podcast on June 25 by the national PR man Andrew Coulson with a new podcast with Wiltshire county inspirationalist Ryan Hartley, a former county policeman like Bailey. For analysis of the Coulson broadcast, read this.    Click to listen to the Hartley podcast with Bailey here. It runs for 51 minutes and was first released on June 30.

Hartley publishes a website selling consulting advice and coaching “to help developing leaders lead confidently, authentically and with purpose.” He calls himself “chief heart officer”; his motto is “always better than yesterday”. Click to read more.

Hartley asked Bailey to retell the story of the Novichok episode as he remembered it. He remembers new evidence:

  • He remembers that on duty at the Bourne Hill Police Station in the afternoon of March 4, 2018, when the first reports of the Skripal incident began, he was told that one of the symptoms was that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were “heavily salivating” (Min 7:33). Frothing at the mouth is another way of describing this. It is a combination of the B and S symptoms which toxicologists report as standard for exposure to organosphosphate poisoning of the Novichok type; for details, click. Hartley didn’t ask, and Bailey didn’t think to explain why he never suffered this symptom himself.
  • Although Bailey says he was not the station duty sergeant at the time, nor given an order by a superior officer, he claims he went to the incident scene in the centre of Salisbury because he was “a bit bored”; because “I’m a bit of a nosey bugger the best of times”; and because by the time he arrived “the patients [were] taken away”.
  • At the scene Bailey now remembers Sergei Skripal’s jacket was left behind, and that police had opened his wallet and identified him from his driver’s licence. Bailey fails to explain how he missed the police check of the driver’s licence done at the scene, and the special coded instructions to police from the security services on what to do if they ran the check; this was when a “Don’t Stop” notice appeared on the national police computer.  For these details, read the book. Instead, Bailey claims the first name  check he remembers now was a subordinate at the station on his return who “Google[d] his name”.  This is a lie.
  • According to Bailey, what happened next was “a bit of a whirlwind” as “the chain of command and control room” were involved, and the “senior investigating officer took over”. Bailey told Hartley “we talked about going into the house for a couple of hours”. The evidence is that this interval was five hours. During that time the security services, MI5 and MI6, were actively involved, giving their orders to the local police. Bailey knows this; he conceals their role.
  • Bailey now says that for the midnight opening of Skripal’s house, he and his two accompanying constables had to borrow Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the fire station next door. This is standard equipment; as required by the regulations, it comes with two pairs of gloves, an inner and outer pair; for the details, read pages 15-17 of this official manual.   The glove detail raises several new questions – how is it possible that Bailey’s criminal investigation department (CID)  lacked regulation forensic suits for themselves? How is it possible that the allegedly weaponised door-handle on Skripal’s front door sent Novichok through two pairs of PPE gloves? How is it possible that when Bailey and his associates returned their borrowed PPE kit to the fire station, the fire station was not targeted for later decontamination, as Bourne Hill police station was?  

Bourne Hill police station and council offices, Salisbury.

  • Bailey now reveals he went to Salisbury District Hospital three times, not twice as reported in the past. The first and unrevealed visit, Bailey told Hartley this week, was when “he went to the hospital to get an update on the patients [Skripals] – there wasn’t one” (Min 12:12). It isn’t clear exactly when Bailey did this; who ordered the sergeant to do so; why he called in person, not by telephone; and why he was told nothing.  From his conversation, Bailey appears to have done this soon after returning from his visit to the Skripal house; that is after 2 am in the morning of March 5, but before 7 am, when Bailey says he finished writing up the shift incident log at the station and drove home. By then, he says – about seven hours after the alleged exposure through two pairs of gloves to the poisoned door-handle – Bailey says he “felt odd – tired – sweating – pupils were like pinpricks”.  Bailey is either lying again; or else the official narrative, recording that by 6 am of March 5 the administrators of the hospital were telephoning staff, consultants and trustees details of the Skripals’ condition and suspicion of poisoning, is a fabrication; or that both accounts are true, but that on Bailey’s first visit to the hospital he was checked and no symptoms of poisoning were detected.
  • On the afternoon of March 5, Bailey says he returned to the hospital where emergency department personnel “checked my vitals… They couldn’t account for my tiny pupils”. The implausibility of Bailey’s description of this second trip to the hospital hasn’t occurred to Bailey yet. The Salisbury management had officially declared a “major incident” at 10 am that morning, several hours before Bailey says he re-appeared at the emergency department. MI5, MI6, and naturally the BBC, knew hours before Bailey claims to have been told, when he was still being sent home. Bailey is lying.
  • At 5 am on the next day, March 6, Bailey now remembers, he woke up after a “restless” night seeing  “nightmares” and “hallucinations” about the surface of the sun.  He says he had “juddery” vision and “threw up” twice (Min 14:39). He then went back to Salisbury Hospital where after blood testing “I was told you have nerve agent in your blood stream”. Later – how many hours later isn’t clear from Bailey’s new account – he was transferred to the intensive care unit of the hospital and “was told by a consultant you have Novichok in your system”. By Bailey’s latest account, he is clear the official narrative of the Russian Novichok attack was given to him late in the day of March 6. Bailey told Hartley he can’t describe the symptoms. “Sometimes I can’t distinguish between the physical and emotional”. This is evidence that Bailey had not been exposed to Novichok at all; this evidence was first revealed by Bailey last week. To cover this difficulty, Bailey has been scripted to report his symptom with Alexei Navalny’s remark: “it is not something you feel…something is taking your life away” (Min 16:40). In the history of nerve agent, organophosphate and Novichok poisonings, this is the first time cognitive acuity has been reported as a symptom instead of cognitive impairment and loss of consciousness.

Sarah and Nick Bailey pose for the press with their two daughters at a local charity event for Salisbury District Hospital in the summer of 2019. According to Bailey’s testimony this week, all of them had been exposed to “traces” of Novichok in March 2018.

  • Later, Bailey also reveals now for the first time, “they found traces of nerve agent in my daughter’s bedroom” (Min 25).
  • Hartley concluded his interview with Bailey by asking him what hope he has for his future. Bailey answered: “you just do it. We just got ourselves through it”. What Bailey believes the “it” to be, he clarified as “all the battles we had” (Min 42).

Bailey also adds to his evidence that neither he nor his wife and children were treated as at risk of Novichok contamination until “the first weekend I was in hospital”. That was March 10-11. “The police said you can’t go back to the house”, he claims Sarah Bailey was told then. Bailey adds to Hartley: “But they had been there for several days…Suddenly, it’s too dangerous – you have to leave” (Min 22:24). In other words, for the four days and nights Bailey officially knew he was the target of a “Major Incident” involving Russian Novichok, no one told his wife; he appears not to have told her himself. For this to be plausible, Bailey must have been under orders not to disclose to his wife when she was at his bedside. And for this to be explicable, Bailey’s evidence is of the preparation of an official narrative in which he was assigned the role of corroborating false witness.

Bailey is not describing the wounds of a weapon he had been attacked with in the line of police duty. “I can’t really verbalise how we got through…we just did…. The control of our lives had been stripped from us.” This is evidence that he cannot describe Novichok symptoms because there were none for him to remember. The loss of control Bailey is testifying to is what happened when he was ordered to lie his head off. He still does, but with less reliability on every new occasion he makes the attempt.

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