British police officer in Novichok attack sues force

Lawyers say detective sergeant had to 'leave job he loved after more than 18 years of loyal service'

File photo: British Police Community Support Officers stand on duty outside the home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, southern England, on March 6, 2018. AFP
File photo: British Police Community Support Officers stand on duty outside the home of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, southern England, on March 6, 2018. AFP

A British police officer poisoned in the Novichok nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy is suing the force for which he worked at the time, his lawyers said on Wednesday.

Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who left the police in October last year, became critically ill after the Novichok poisoning attack of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018.

The former police officer was the first person to enter their home in Salisbury, south-west England, after the attack, which Britain blamed on the Kremlin, sparking a diplomatic stand-off between Moscow and London.

Mr Bailey's lawyers said they filed an "accidents at work claim" against Kier Pritchard, chief constable of the police force in the south-west county of Wiltshire, this month.

"Our client experienced a trauma that had a devastating effect on his family and forced him to leave the job he loved after more than 18 years of loyal service," said his lawyer, Patrick Maguire.

"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 forwards with their lives."

Despite repeated attempts to return to police work, Mr Bailey said he had to give up the job because he "couldn't deal with being in a police environment".

His wife Sarah tweeted in December that he had been "fighting for part of his pension" after leaving the force.

Russia has consistently denied involvement in the failed 2018 assassination attempt on the Skripals, which claimed the life of Dawn Sturgess, who died in hospital in Salisbury after coming into contact with the nerve agent.

Two Russian nationals, known by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, have been accused of travelling to Britain to carry out the attack.

The pair, who have been identified as Russian military intelligence officers, are also suspected of involvement in a 2014 explosion in the Czech Republic.

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Updated: May 13, 2021 01:59 AM

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