DANIEL MORGAN: £50K reward, forensic review and new appeal on day of damning report
THE murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan (above) remains an open case that the Met Police still hopes to solve with a new forensics review and a £50,000 reward for information that leads to a successful prosecution, the force vowed today.
Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave today at a press briefing launched a fresh appeal for information about the 34-year-old murder case that has been mired in police corruption allegations since it began. He spoke following publication of a highly critical 1,251 page report by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel that spent eight years investigating the force's handling of the unsolved murder and any corruption issues. The panel said corruption had been involved from the outset of the investigations, but the force had failed to get to the bottom of it through successive probes, and over years it was responsible for "Concealing or denying failings for the sake of the organisation's public image is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption." Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick was also criticised in the report for delaying the panel's inquiry in connection with the disclosure of evidence.
Mr Ephgrave (above) said: "I would like to remind everyone this is an unsolved homicide which remains open and the investigation will continue.
"Maybe the publication of today's report will trigger someone out there to come forward. Someone who reads your report or sees the TV may want to talk to us and they can do that through Crimestoppers.
"We will continue to pursue this as far as we reasonably can.
"There have been a number of suspects arrested throughout this period of time but it does not mean our minds are closed to alternatives.
"We have commissioned a further forensic review as improvements in forensics might take it further and this is an aspiration we have.
"It will be several weeks or months before we know the outcome of these resubmissions, we always hope something will come into the incident room."
The panel has also issued the force with a series of recommendations to carry out to try to learn from and move the investigation forward, which Mr Ephgrave said would be actioned.
The 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 with partner Jonathan Rees, 66, before the murder.
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 the late Glen and Garry Vian and builder James Cook.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.Mr Ephgrave also issued an unreserved apology to the family of Mr Morgan for its failings in its investigations into his murder and said the force accepted the catalogue of failings in the 34-year-old murder had added to the family's pain.
He said: "There is no doubt our failings compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family and for this we unreservedly apologise. “To this day, those responsible for Daniel’s murder have not been brought to justice. I apologise for this. As a former senior investigating officer on homicide, this is personally and professionally a matter of deep regret for me. “I’m angered and saddened not just as a police officer, but as a member of society, that the actions of individuals undermined the original investigation. “Since Daniel’s murder, we’ve completely overhauled our ability to identify corruption and ensure every officer and member of staff understands their responsibility to stand up for our fundamental values of professionalism, integrity, compassion and courage. “But that does not mean we are complacent. The threat of corruption is constantly evolving. I am confident we have never been better at finding corruption and getting rid of it.” Mr Ephgrave said he did not believe the force was institutionally corrupt but said officers would be looking at the evidence that had led the panel to reach that conclusion. He said he remained confident in Ms Dick's ability to lead the force and learn from the findings. However, the force said in a statement it accepted that corruption had mired the investigations. A force spokesman said: "We accept corruption and the malicious acts of corrupt individuals were a major factor in the failure of the first investigation. We have worked hard to put the actions of these individuals right ever since. "The Met of today is not the Met of 34 years ago. We’ve transformed how we investigate homicide and major crimes as well as how we identify misconduct, root out corruption, liaise with families, work professionally with the media, handle informants, and conduct forensics, covert operations and vetting. "In the Met, we want to be the most trusted police service in the world. We are working to earn this trust by being true to our values of professionalism, integrity, courage and compassion." Ms Dick said: "I would like to acknowledge, both personally and on behalf of the Met, the extraordinary resilience and determination of Daniel Morgan’s family in their pursuit of the truth and for the conviction of those responsible for his murder. “It is a matter of great regret that no one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel’s family. For that I apologise again now. “I have been personally determined that the Met provided the Panel with the fullest level of co-operation in an open and transparent manner, with complete integrity at all times.
“I recognise this is a powerful and wide-ranging report. We will take the necessary time to consider it and the associated recommendations in their entirety." The spokesman added: "Since the murder of Daniel, the Met has continually sought justice for him and his family. "Within a month six men, three civilians and three police officers, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Others have been arrested throughout the six major investigations into the killing, but to date no one has been successfully convicted. "Thousands of lines of inquiry have been pursued. There have been numerous independent assessments and five forensic reviews. The most recent of these concluded in 2012. "There still remains a possibility of solving this murder. Our work to make that happen will not stop, no matter how much time passes. "A new forensic review of a series of exhibits linked to this case has been commissioned. This is a process conducted periodically in all unsolved homicides. "In other cases significant advances in DNA and forensic technology have led to new and compelling evidence coming to light and successful convictions. "We also know there are people who hold vital information who have been unable for whatever reason to pass that to us. "There is a £50,000 cash reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of those responsible for the murder. "This is one of the largest rewards ever made available by a UK police service. "We would urge anyone with information about those responsible for Daniel’s murder to come forward and call our dedicated information line on 0203 276 7816 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."Mr Morgan's family said in a statement that they welcomed the recognition that they have been "failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day".