The former home of an ex-Russian spy poisoned by Novichok is set to be bought by a council amid fears it could become a ‘ghoulish’ Airbnb.
Sergei Skripal’s two-bedroom Salisbury residence, which has been scrubbed clean of the nerve agent, may be purchased by Wiltshire County Council.
Representatives of the 67-year-old are said to be in talks with the authority about buying the £334,000 property following claims that, if bought privately, it was at risk of becoming an unwanted visitor attraction.
Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were both found slumped on a bench in the city centre in March last year after Novichok was sprayed on the house’s doorknob.
The former home of an ex-Russian spy (pictured) who was poisoned by Novichok is set to be bought by a council amid fears it could become a ‘ghoulish’ Airbnb. (Pictured) Sergei Skripal with daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned, outside their Salisbury home with a family member
Military teams have spent months decontaminating the property, including dismantling and removing the roof.
It has now been returned to Mr Skripal, although it is thought he is unlikely to return. following the poisonings in March last year.
Alistair Cunningham, a director at Wiltshire Council, said: ‘The council has committed to ensuring that the property is not used to trade on its history, and has confirmed to the residents of Christie Miller Road that it will monitor what happens to the property and is prepared to purchase it should the owner wish to sell.
‘Neighbours are concerned as to what might happen to the property if it were sold.’
‘If it is purchased the council would ensure the property is continued to be used for residential purposes. We are in discussions with representatives at Whitehall.’
Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia (Pictured) were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury city centre last year after being poisoned by the nerve agent which had been sprayed on the house’s doorknob
Military teams have spent months cleaning the two-bedroom property in Salisbury, and even removed its roof, before it was handed back to Mr Skripal
Businesses which the council said it was concerned about included Airbnb which they claimed ‘would be trading on the incident’.
Mr Skripal and Yulia, 33, survived the attack in March last year.
Police officer Det Sgt Nick Bailey was also poisoned by the nerve agent at the house.
The property, on Christie Miller road, was the last of 12 sites which had to be cleaned.
The Amesbury flat, where victim Dawn Sturgess was poisoned, was given back to StoneWater Housing in January.
Other sites included Salisbury and Amesbury ambulance stations, Zizzi restaurant and The Mill pub in Salisbury city centre.
Alistair Cunningham, a director at Wiltshire Council, said the council has ‘committed to ensuring that the property is not used to trade on its history’ after residents feared it could become an unwanted tourist attraction (Pictured) A protected officer investigates the graveside of wife and son of former spy Sergei Skripal
Salisbury Councillor John Walsh, who represents the ward which includes Christie Miller Road, said ‘things were returning to normal’.
He added: ‘I don’t think it would be appropriate for any kind of museum at the house [Mr Skripal’s] especially after one of the people involved in the incident died.’
Two Russian nationals have been accused of trying to murder Mr Skripal with Novichok.
The two suspects – known by their aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – were caught on CCTV in Salisbury the day before the attack.
An audio tape recently emerged purporting to be a recording of the Russian ex-spy.
The 30-second recording comprises a voicemail apparently left by Sergei with his niece Viktoria, in which he calls to wish her and mother Yelena a happy Victory Day – a major holiday in Russia.
In the tape, the man can be heard saying that he and Yulia – the name of Skripal’s daughter who was also poisoned – are ‘good’.
The nerve agent was sprayed on the property’s doorknob (pictured). The two suspects – known by their aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – were caught on CCTV in Salisbury the day before the attack
According to the Moskovsky Komsomilets newspaper, Skripal called on Viktoria’s mobile and left a message when she did not answer.
Unlike his daughter Yulia, 34, Sergei had not been seen or heard from since he was poisoned with nerve agent at his home in Salisbury on 4 March 2018.
Yulia, appearing with a tracheotomy scar on her throat, gave an interview from a secret location that was released on May 23.
In it, she says that she and her father are ‘lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination’, describing their recovery as ‘slow and very painful’.
‘As I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally, I take one day at a time and want to help care for my Dad till his full recovery,’ she said.
‘In the longer term I hope to return home to my country.’
In his message, Skripal says: ‘Hi, Vikulya [pet name for Viktoria], it is uncle Seryozha (Sergei). Tried to reach you, but constantly (it says) ‘the subscriber is not responding’.