Victim of 'dirty tricks campaign' attacks BA

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The Independent Online
BRITISH AIRWAYS said last night it was 'taking very seriously' allegations of a dirty tricks campaign against a BA shareholder who was beaten up at his home and burgled while preparing a legal action against the airline.

John Gorman, a former policeman, says he has been subjected to a campaign of harassment following his decision to sue the airline for injuries after swallowing broken glass that was in a drink handed to him during a BA flight to New York. At the height of the intimidation, he alleges that two men banged his head against a wall and sprayed chemical gas into his eyes while raiding his flat in June, and that they screamed: 'This is what you get when you mess with British Airways.'

Last night the airline said that it had made all its files on the alleged campaign, which was featured in two lengthy BBC television news reports, available to the police.

Three months after Mr Gorman complained to the airline, BA accused him of attempted fraud, saying that he had not swallowed the broken glass during the BA flight. After BA's allegation, seven police officers from Heathrow, accompanied by a senior BA investigator, raided Mr Gorman's home and took away files and tapes. Mr Gorman was arrested and held in a police cell. The charges of conspiracy to defraud against Mr Gorman were later dropped.

Last night Scotland Yard said that an inquiry had been carried out into Mr Gorman's complaints against officers at Heathrow Airport police station, and that a file was being sent to the Crown Prosecution Service and then to the Police Complaints Authority.

Mr Gorman also claims that he and a colleague, Peter Sherman, received anonymous telephone calls at night, and that they were traced by British Telecom to a number with two extensions in offices occupied by a member of BA's staff. A voice said: 'We'll get you next time.'

When Mr Gorman made his complaint, BA was still coming to terms with its defeat in the 'dirty tricks' libel case brought against the airline by its rival, Richard Branson.