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By John Helmer, Moscow 

Wiltshire police detective sergeant (retired) Nicholas Bailey is the only government witness of the alleged Novichok assassination attempt against Sergei Skripal to speak in public describing  what he saw and experienced directly. He is also the only figure to testify from the British government’s published indictment of two Russian military intelligence agents for attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Until last week, that is.

Following a 74-minute podcast published on June 25, and then a 51-minute podcast on June 30, in which Bailey provided surprise evidence that he had not been poisoned by Novichok at all,  he announced last Friday, July 1, that his tongue is tied, lips sealed. Through his press agent Peter Davies, he said he “is making no further comment on this particular ongoing case at this stage.”

The registry at the High Court in London has also confirmed there is a public record that the lawsuit Bailey has threatened against the Wiltshire police has been filed for compensation of the long-term injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, from his involvement in the Novichok affair. But there is no record the papers have been served, so the case hasn’t begun. 

Follow Bailey’s first round of disclosures ten days ago in the Andrew Coulson podcast here.   This was followed five days later in Ryan Hartley’s interview with Bailey on June 30. Together, they make the most substantial documentation to date of the symptoms Bailey says he presented at Salisbury District Hospital between March 5 and 24, 2018; toxicologists specialising in organophosphates and nerve agents say Bailey’s symptoms are not those of Novichok poisoning.

There is more evidence in what Bailey said in the two broadcasts which directly contradicts the official British narrative of a Russian assassination attempt using a nerve agent.

Bailey is now pursuing a commercial career of public speaking to banks and other businesses  willing to pay a fee for what his agency, Chartwell Speakers, calls “ his unique experience to talk to audiences about major crises, resilience and the importance of mental health.”

Source: https://www.chartwellspeakers.com/\

According to Chartwell, Bailey is available for engagements to talk “about the impact that a shock like his Novichok poisoning can have on a person’s psychological health, overcoming adversity and the resilience needed to pick up and move forward, as well as the importance of mental wellbeing. He also discusses leadership, not only from his own experiences as a Police Officer but from the positive and empathetic leadership shown by his own chain of command towards him and his family in the aftermath of the Salisbury poisonings.”

In fact, in a series of carefully orchestrated briefings of the Guardian newspaper in London and the Salisbury Journal, Bailey, his lawyer Patrick Maguire and PR agent Davies have announced they are suing the Wiltshire police for “forcing” him “to leave the job he loved after more than eighteen years of loyal service. We hope to come to a resolution very soon with Wiltshire Police so that Mr Bailey and his family can continue the process of healing and move forward with their lives.”  

The High Court in London registers and releases statements of lawsuit claims like this only after the papers have been served on the defendant. This has not happened in the Bailey case, the registry indicates, although the formal filing of the claim occurred two months ago, on May 5. Davies refused to say last Friday if the Wiltshire police and its Chief Constable have been served.

By email Maguire and Davies were also asked: “I appreciate how readily your client [Bailey] is agreeing to provide fresh evidence in the Skripal case… May I ask if you and your client would agree to doing a relatively short podcast — say 30 minutes — in which the fresh questions now arising might be addressed?”

They refuse.

State honours have been awarded to several officials involved in the Skripal case; it is not known if Bailey was offered a promotion or the Queen’s Police Medal.

Nicolas Gent, the analyst who reportedly found Novichok in the Skripal blood samples at Porton Down, was given the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) on June 18, 2018; the citation said the award was for Gent’s “for services to Health Protection.” 

Three policemen involved in the case have also received medals.  One, Detective Superintendent Nigel William Doak of the Thames Valley police was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his work on the case in the New Year Honours announced in December 2019.  Doak had been assigned to advise Wiltshire county coroner David Ridley in his investigation of the death of Dawn Sturgess. According to Ridley, Doak also briefed him on the Skripal case, providing a “policy document relating to the March incident and it is clear that the safety of the public and police and together with other personnel was of paramount importance in his decision making.”  

The second police officer identified by Ridley, Detective Chief Inspector Phillip Murphy, an ex-British Army officer, was in charge of “military liaison for SE region” and at the time of the Skripal case the chief police officer supervising chemical and biological weapons operations.  Ridley reported  Murphy was “the senior investigating officer that I have been primarily relying on to assist in the gathering of evidence in relation to Ms Sturgess’ death.” Murphy’s name is missing from the police promotion lists and medal awards; in May 2021 he retired.

1st Left: Francis Hapgood, who was the Chief Constable of the Thames Valley Police during 2018; he was knighted in December 2019 at the same time as his subordinate Detective Superintendet Nigel Doak received the Queen’s Police Medal; Hapgood then retired in March 2019. No photograph is available of Doak. 2nd left: Superintendent David Minty of the Wiltshire Police, awarded his medal in the same group. 3rd left: Detective Chief Inspector Phillip Murphy. Right:  Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Paul Mills. For the full list of state award winners from Porton Down and Salisbury District Hospital to receive medals for their roles in the Novichok story, click to read

A superior officer, Paul Mills, was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire in February 2018, just before the Novichok case began. He received the Queen’s Police Medal in the same December 2019 honours list as Hapgood, Doak and Wiltshire Police Superintendent David Minty.

Mills and Minty played direct operational roles in the Skripal case in Salisbury and also the alleged Novichok poisoning of Dawn Sturgess in nearby Amesbury.  Minty received his Queen’s Police Medal at the same time as Mills; both “were nominated for their roles in the response to the nerve agent attacks in Salisbury and Amesbury last year (2018)”, according to the Wiltshire police association’s website.  “DCC Mills, who was on his first day in office as the Deputy Chief Constable on 5 March 2018, chaired a total of 54 SCG meetings in addition to providing the continual link between the Government, Chief Scientists and National Counter Terrorism Policing network.” The Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) was the command coordinator of “more than 26 different local and national partners to develop the multi-agency partnership response to the incidents” Mills was “the continual link between the Government, Chief Scientists and National Counter Terrorism Policing network. He set the overall strategy for both the response phases and ensured that the expertise of all agencies was effectively utilised to respond to the incidents.”

Under Mills, Minty “led and chaired the Tactical Coordination Group (TCG), which was charged with coordinating the delivery of the tactical plan in response to the incidents… During the two incidents, Supt Minty chaired in excess of 50 TCG meetings during the response phase and then chaired the Recovery Tactical Coordination Group (RTCG) during the recovery phase, which lasted a year. He was instrumental in bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders across the military, government, emergency services and partner agencies to enable the successful decontamination and remediation of the contaminated sites across Salisbury and Amesbury.

In his podcasts this month, Bailey has not identified the police and other officials to whom he reported before, during, and after his hospitalisation.

Bailey has now received a retirement pension of about £100,000; a payment of £430,000 for the state requisition of his house; and an undisclosed but sizeable rights fee from the BBC to use his name and story in the “Salisbury Poisonings” film broadcast last year.

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