A LONE detective who put a Salisbury rapist behind bars for more than 14 years has been recognised for his outstanding police work.

Sgt Nick Baily, then a detective constable with Salisbury CID, worked tirelessly over two years building a case against Arthur Bonner, who sexually assaulted multiple victims over four decades between the early 1970s and 2014.

Sgt Bailey, now based at police HQ in Devizes, trawled through and reopened old cases as well as investigating fresh allegations, in what was a "complex and serious case".

Wiltshire chief constable Mike Veale praised his dedication, outstanding professionalism, and diligent hard work, as well as the sensitive way he dealt with victims and families who were deeply affected by what had happened.

He said the officer had gone "the extra mile" to help the victims secure justice.

After Bonner was convicted, the Crown Prosecution Service praised “the way in which [Sgt Bailey] dealt with the families of the victims and kept the prosecution together during difficult times".

DC Bailey said on receiving the Chief Constable’s Certificate of Excellence: "It's a really nice feeling. It was a very long, emotionally draining investigation, for the families as well."

He said the toughest part was managing the families' expectations, especially when looking at old cases dating back to the 1970s and 80s.

"It was very difficult not to get their hopes up," he said.

Over two years he went through every detail of their family histories and got to know them well.

Seeing them go through so much pain and frustration was emotionally exhausting, "but we got justice in the end," he said.

"You live and breathe that type of investigation for a long time.

"It's on your mind constantly, and it's very difficult to switch off, it's such a big thing.

"It affects so many people in such a significant way. To see a full trial got through and to see those 12 members of the public as the jury listen to the evidence you have presented to the court and to see them say 'we believe he is guilty' is a really exhilarating feeling."

But the best part, he said, was to see the joy on the relatives' faces when he gathered them together to say that after 40 years, justice had finally been served.