EXCLUSIVE: Owner of hotel where novichok spies stayed for two nights was only told by police about his killer guests YESTERDAY – and he still doesn’t know which room they were in
Silman Mir owns the City Stay Hotel in east London, where Russian spies stayed before poisoning Sergei Skripal with novichok
A London hotel owner where Russian hitmen hid their deadly novichok for two nights has revealed that police only told him about his killer guests yesterday.
Silman Mir said police waited six months before telling him his hotel had been contaminated with ‘low levels’ of the nerve agent – when TV crews turned up on his doorstep yesterday.
Mr Mir, 54, said detectives had been making regular visits to the 20-room City Stay Hotel ‘for four months or more’ without taking him into confidence.
The businessman was reluctant to disclose what the police told him of their investigations, but said they gave him no details about the connection to the Salisbury attack.
He said he had still not even been told which room the two killers stayed in for two nights in March.
Speaking exclusively to Mailonline inside the hotel he said: ‘I didn’t know anything about Salisbury until 10am yesterday when I saw television cameras outside when I arrived here.’
He said he had handed ‘police everything’ including hotel records and CCTV from cameras inside the hotel.
Mr Mir, 54, said officers first arrived at the hotel (pictured) in May and had been there for four months without taking him into their confidence and explaining why they were there
Two Russian hit men – going by the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – stayed at the hotel where rooms are available for £48 a night on March 2 and March 3 this year
Police said that they found ‘tiny traces’ of novichok in the room where the men stayed that were of no danger to public health
He said he had no records of how the two Russian assassins had made the booking but believed it would have been on the internet.
Mr Mir added: ‘It was clearly an important matter and we were happy to help. But I had no idea what the reasons were.
‘The detectives would come back over the months, but I cannot even tell you which room these men stayed in because the police haven’t told us. They have checked the hotel thoroughly and have all the records. But until yesterday we didn’t know. ‘
Mr Mir and his son Shaan run the business along with his brother who declined to be named.
Mr Mir added: ‘This is a small family business and I am worried what affect this will have on it. ‘I hope it will not put people off from staying here at all. It is clean, safe and welcoming.’
The hotel, which has rooms from £48-a-night is next to Bow DLR station and a minute from the district line.
The two Russian spies using the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov travelled used the hotel for two nights during their murder mission.
The men arrived at Gatwick Friday on March 2 on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow, before catching a train to London Victoria.
They then travelled to London Waterloo where they were seen between 6 and 7pm before checking into the budget City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, East London.
Dressed in padded jackets, hats and carrying a rucksack, the following day the pair left their hotel at 11am and caught the tube back to Waterloo to jump on the London to Salisbury train which arrived in the cathedral city at 2.25pm.
There they did what police believe was a reconnaissance of the Salisbury area, before catching a train back to London at 4.10pm and checking back into their Bow hotel at 8.05pm.
Mr Mir, owner of the guesthouse, said he only realised his hotel was at the centre of the nerve agent investigation yesterday when TV crews camped out on his doorstep
Speaking exclusively to Mailonline inside the hotel (pictured) he said: ‘I didn’t know anything about Salisbury until 10am when I saw television cameras outside when I arrived here’
On the Sunday, they left their hotel at 8am, again taking the tube to Waterloo where they caught another train to Salisbury, arriving back in the city shortly before midday.
CCTV showed the two men close to Russian double agent Sergei Skripal’ house at 11.58am and walking through the streets of the city between 1pm and 2pm.
The men caught a train back to London around 2pm and arrived back at Waterloo at 4.45pm, then caught a tube to Heathrow airport at 6.30pm.
Little more than 48 hours after they arrived in the UK, Petrov and Boshirov caught the 10.30pm flight back to Moscow, just over 50 hours after first touching down.
Police said they did not search the men’s room until two months after the attack. Only a minute trace of the chemical was found in the hotel.
Mr Mir said he was not concerned that novichok had been found in his building. ‘We are all fine. There has been no illness in my family or among guests,’ he said.
He added that he had been contacted by a government health expert who had assured him too that there was no cause for concern.
The hotel, on Bow Road, is situated next to a train station. It is where the two Russian suspects stayed during their time in the UK when they tried to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter
Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing said: ‘On 4 May, 2018, tests were carried out in the hotel room where the suspects had stayed.
‘A number of samples were tested at DSTL at Porton Down. Two swabs showed contamination of Novichok at levels below that which would cause concern for public health.
‘A decision was made to take further samples from the room as a precautionary measure, including in the same areas originally tested, and all results came back negative.
‘We believe the first process of taking swabs removed the contamination, so low were the traces of Novichok in the room.
‘Following these tests, experts deemed the room was safe and that it posed no risk to the public.’
Uniformed officers were again at the hotel today to speak with Mr Mir.