EXCLUSIVE: DANIEL MORGAN MURDER: Independent Panel Delays Release of findings after receiving 's
AN INDEPENDENT panel set up seven years ago to investigate the circumstances of the Met Police's most notorious unsolved murder has delayed publishing its findings after receiving "significant documentation" from the force. The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel was set up by then Home Secretary Theresa May in May 2013 to investigate police failings and corruption surrounding the case after a series of botched enquiries and failed prosecutions by the force. Private investigator Mr Morgan, 37, (pictured above) was found murdered from an axe in the face in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London, on March 10 1987. There were no witnesses to the murder of Daniel who was joint partner in private eye firm Southern Investigations at the time. Last week a three-part Channel 4 documentary Murder in the Car Park shone a new spotlight on the case with new claims Daniel held a lot of animosity to his business partner Jonathan Rees, 65, before the murder.
PARTNER: Jonathan Rees was charged over the murder but the case was dropped (BBC)
After numerous separate police investigations between 1987 and 2002, Rees, who had earlier been in the pub with Daniel, was charged with murder in 2008, as were brothers Glenn and Garry Vian and builder James Cook.
Glenn Vian, 62, died just 24 hours after the first episode aired, it has emerged, but he had been suffering from a long illness.
Three years later, proceedings were discontinued by the CPS when evidence from known criminal, Gary Eaton, who claimed to have come on the scene shortly after Mr Morgan was attacked, was disallowed after it emerged he had been coached by an investigating officer on what to say. Rees and the Vians tried to sue the Metropolitan Police for damages but the case was thrown out of court. However, they succeeded at the Court of Appeal in 2018 and won damages of more than £400,000 between them.
CORRUPTION? Sid Fillery was arrested over the case and went to work for Southern Investigations (BBC)
The case has been mired in corruption after it emerged Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, who was on the original investigation, was friends with Rees and never declared that he had also been drinking in the pub just before the murder. Fillery, who went on to replace Daniel at Southern Investigations, after retiring from the force, was charged in 2008 with perverting the course of justice, but the case was dropped and in 2017 he was awarded damages. The panel, whose remit is to look at any police involvement in the murder and the "role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice" and the failure to confront that corruption, was due to publish its findings in 2019. However, it admitted this week it will now not be until Spring 2021 at the earliest. A panel spokesman said: "Further significant documentation has been received up to and including this year which is relevant to the panel’s terms of reference. "This material has had to be carefully considered by the panel and this has inevitably delayed its report. "The panel now intends to present its report to the Home Secretary in Spring 2021 for publication in Parliament." The report is expected to be critical of a number of people involved in the case as solicitors for the panel will write to individuals and organisations this summer giving them an opportunity to comment on its negative findings before publication. By late 2018 the panel had already gone through more than a million pages of documentation concerning the case.
BATTLE: Daniel's brother Alastair has been battling for justice for 33 years (BBC)
Daniel's brother Alastair Morgan, who has fought for years to get justice, is not sure what the new documentation is. But, he conceded that the endless delays were wearing him down. He said: "We were told by the Home Office to expect the panel to take about a year to reach its findings, but we are now in the eighth year. "We are endlessly going over the horizon and it has been an absolute pain." He blames the Met Police for delays by dragging its heels in releasing material. He said: "They way the police delays stuff is to say we have 4,000 crates of information of stuff that may be relevant and then they spend a year going through it. They don't want to confront police corruption. "These sorts of delays are an abuse of people struggling with injustice whether they are intended or not. "I don't ever expect to see any justice now - it has all been so fouled up - I don't think a judge would go near the case." The Met Police has said there is no likelihood of any successful prosecutions being brought in the case and conceded that police corruption was a “debilitating factor” in the original investigation. A force spokesman said it supports the panel's review and has provided 580 crates of evidence.
He said: "Our thoughts remain with Daniel’s family and friends who have fought tirelessly to seek answers and justice.
"The investigation into Daniel’s murder remains open and we will continue to explore any new information which may become available." Rees and Gary Vian deny any part in the murder.