Bunhill: Strange document

A STRANGE document arrives. It is a copy of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Crooke, ex-commander of 23 SAS, to Colonel Sir David Stirling, the late founder of the SAS regiment. After the army, the men formed their own private security firm, KAS. Dated December 1989, the letter details some of the jobs they have been asked to undertake. One is the protection of Sir James Goldsmith. The other, 'is a surveillance task directed against targets supplied by David Benson, a director of Virgin Atlantic'.

Richard Branson's spokesman, Will Whitehorn, is quick to set my mind at ease. Benson, it seems, was a director of Virgin Atlantic, but he also oversaw the part of Virgin that runs Heaven, the gay London nightclub. He was worried about security and drug abuse at the club, so he called in KAS. The ex-SAS men prepared a report that was later acted upon. The report was later stolen from Branson's houseboat and found its way to a tabloid newspaper and then into a dossier compiled on Virgin by Brian Basham, the British Airways PR consultant. 'It was the only time,' says Whitehorn, 'that we've employed a security firm and never again.' And their brief, he stresses, firmly, 'was just Heaven'.