The detective sergeant who survived the Salisbury Novichok attack in 2018 has revealed he can “can no longer do the job” after 18 years with Wiltshire Police.
Detective sergeant Nick Bailey was left fighting for his life in hospital after coming into contact with the deadly nerve agent in March 2018, but has since spoken publicly about struggling with depression and memory loss in the wake of the attack.
Sgt Bailey, who had served in the force since 2002, was sent to the home of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer and double agent for MI6 who was targeted in the poisoning, in the aftermath of the incident.
He was infected with nerve agent that had been administered to their door handle, despite wearing a forensic suit.
In a series of tweets Sgt Bailey wrote: “After 18 years in the police force I’ve had to admit defeat and accept that I can no longer do the job.
“I wanted to be a police officer since I was a teenager, I couldn’t envisage doing anything else, which is why this makes me so sad.
“Like most police officers I’ve experienced my fair share of trauma, violence, upset, injury and grief.”
He continued: “We deal with it, take it on the chin and keep going because that’s our job. But we’re still human and the impact this has shouldn’t be underestimated.
“The events in Salisbury in March 2018 took so much from me and although I’ve tried so hard to make it work, I know that I won’t find peace whilst remaining in that environment.
“Policing will remain in my heart and I feel honoured and privileged to have been part of Wiltshire Police.”
As well as the physical and mental toll of the attack, Sgt Bailey and his family lost their home and possessions as he had unknowingly contaminated them with the nerve agent upon returning from the Skripal home.
Skripal was hospitalised for two months following the attack, and his daughter Yulia was hospitalised for a month.
Dawn Sturgess, a local woman, died months later when she came into contact with the Novichok after it had apparently been discarded. Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley was also left fighting for his life.
Two Russians accused of carrying out the attack were seen visiting Salisbury at the time, but told Russian TV they had been in the area to visit the famous “123-metre spire”.
In September 2018 then-prime minister Theresa May said the pair were Moscow spies, and has since urged Putin to ensure the men face justice.