Trial halted over Fayed `the biggest crook' claim

THE LIBEL action between Neil Hamilton and Mohamed Al Fayed was halted amid uproar at the High Court yesterday after the multi-millionaire owner of Harrods was branded "the biggest crook in town" by his former head of security.

The jury was hastily ushered out and the judge, Mr Justice Morland, also left after failing to prevent Brian Dodd, a former paratrooper and SAS soldier, from shouting from the witness box, where he had been called to give evidence on behalf of the former MP for Tatton. As he watched the proceedings break up, Mr Dodd, in a dark grey suit and regimental tie, plaintively cried out: "I'm sorry Mr Hamilton, I don't think I've done your cause much good."

Earlier, he said that after watching the former MP's wife, Christine, on television news he felt "... tainted by the same brush as Neil Hamilton". He went on: "I have got to leave this court a tainted man by Mr Fayed, who's the biggest bloody crook in this town."

The latest day of evidence lived up to all the colourful theatre that had gone before.

Mr Dodd, sitting ramrod straight, repeatedly interrupted, not just Mr Fayed's QC, George Carman, but Desmond Browne, the counsel for Mr Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton, the former minister for Corporate Affairs in John Major's government, is suing Mr Fayed over allegations that he accepted cash, gifts, and holidays in return for asking questions in the Commons favourable to the owner of Harrods.

Mr Dodd, the holder of the Military Medal, was in charge of security at Mr Fayed's offices and apartments in Park Lane, central London. The staff included Philip Bromfield, a doorman, who claimed that he had handed over two envelopes to Mr Hamilton.

Mr Dodd told the jury that he had made Mr Bromfield and others keep a book in which to enter the names and times when these envelopes were collected, so as to "cover themselves".

He said: "There were up to 15 people a week who he [Mr Fayed] was paying off." There was also a separate book for anyone who went to see Mr Fayed and this included the names of "Labour MPs, Tory MPs and a whole load of Lords.

"When Mr Fayed's brother, Ali, found out about the book it was taken upstairs and they went mad about it."

Mr Dodd added: "I said I needed to know who is in the building in case there is a fire. I said you can call them Donald Duck one and Donald Duck two, but I will have the names in my book or I will not do my job."

Mr Dodd claimed that when he accompanied Mr Fayed on his walk around the floor at Harrods, Mr Fayed would often offer invitations to strangers. He continued: "It was a nightmare for a bodyguard because Mr Al Fayed would often bump into people and engage them in conversation, frequently inviting them to go to the Ritz if they were in Paris."

As Mr Carman protested, Mr Dodd ploughed on: "I can understand Mr Hamilton's problem, one of the rooms in 1986 cost pounds 3,000-a-night without breakfast, the average person could not afford to stay there..."

Mr Carman said: "My Lord, will you stop this witness please..."

Mr Dodd carried on: "So he would say, `You must come as my guest'."

Mr Dodd claimed that Mr Fayed's secretaries, who appeared as his witnesses, Alison Bozek and Iris Bond, had shredded pages from the book the security staff had kept.

Mr Dodd said: "It's my knowledge, because each day the page was ripped out, it was not allowed to be seen. In 1980 I burnt 40 sacks of documents from Mr Fayed's office that he wanted to hide on a bonfire. It took me four hours."

Mr Dodd claimed that Mr Fayed had instructed him to throw one of his tenants at Park Lane "on an effing skip". He added: "He said, `You kill him, you do what you effing like with him, get him out of that flat'. He gave me the keys to go in and do it."

Mr Dodd also said that Mr Fayed had once asked him to go into the offices of his former brother-in-law, Adnan Khashoggi. And he had instructed him to get rid of tenants who were lawfully at the apartment.

Under cross examination from Mr Carman, Mr Dodd admitted writing a letter to Mr Fayed in January 1995 asking for work. It read: "I would find no difficulty in giving you and your family my complete loyalty as I always have in the past." It added that he still admired Mr Fayed and missed the "good years" working for him.

The jury is expected to retire on Monday at the end of legal arguments, closing speeches and summing up by the judge, to consider their verdict.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee