One summer morning, six years ago, I met the journalist and author Michael Gillard at the start of an extraordinary libel trial that he and The Sunday Times were defending against a gangland crime boss. Over coffee in the Royal Courts of Justice cafe, Gillard pointed out four tall burly men dotted around the room who had been hired to protect the witnesses giving evidence on his behalf.
The next day, those bodyguards didn’t turn up to take Gillard to court. It was reported that they had been warned off the night before by a menacing stranger in the pub and attempts to replace them with an internationally famous security firm proved futile. The security firm, which operates in the world’s worst trouble spots, did its due diligence and concluded it was too dangerous.