DANIEL MORGAN: Met Police 'failure to tackle corruption' why axe murder will 'never be solved'
THE family of a private detective found dead with an axe in his head 34 years ago believe "a failure by the high-ranking officers of the Met Police to confront corruption" is why no one has ever been convicted for his murder. Daniel Morgan's body was found slumped by his BMW in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, South London, on March 10 1987. Despite several people being arrested, including the original senior investigating police officer, no one has been convicted and there have been allegations of major police corruption. Mr Morgan's family spoke out ahead of publication of a long-awaited £14 million independent panel's report they hope will shed new light on police actions that prevented anyone being brought to justice. Daniel's brother Alastair Morgan said: "I want further light to be shed on what happened. Daniel (pictured above) has had no justice for 34 years and it is because of what police did. "I knew it wasn't right and was complaining about the police from three weeks into the investigation." Raju Bhatt, the Morgans' family solicitor, explained the family's views in a briefing document for the press ahead of the publication of the report.
He wrote: "Daniel’s family have good cause to consider that the reason may well lie in the “role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible from being brought to justice” and the “repeated failure … over the years” to confront that role at the highest ranks of the Metropolitan Police.
"The family consider that there is reason to believe that the police criminality in and around the murder may have extended to the highest ranks of the MPS and beyond." Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, of Catford Police Station, was assigned to the original case, but failed to tell superiors of his association with Jonathan Rees, Mr Morgan's business partner in PI firm Southern Investigations. Six people, including Mr Fillery, Mr Rees and his brothers-in-law Garry and the late Glenn Vian, and two other Met Police officers were arrested on suspicion of the murder in April 1987, but were all later released without charge. With four further investigations it has been the force's most heavily investigated murder at a cost of more than £30 million, with no one ever convicted.
APPEAL: David Cook on the BBC Crimewatch in 2002
The last investigation started in January 2006 under DCS David Cook. In April 2008 Mr Rees, the Vian brothers and suspected getaway driver James Cook were charged with the murder and Mr Fillery with attempting to pervert the course of justice. By March 2011 all charges were dropped following evidence disclosure issues and defence allegations Mr Cook rehearsed evidence with a prosecution witness - something he vehemently denies. Those charged also denied any involvement in the murder. The Met admitted at the time that “police corruption was a debilitating factor in earlier inquiries” and it failed to be confronted. In May 2013, then Home Secretary Theresa May announced there would be an independent panel set up to look into what went wrong and allegations of police corruption. It was expected to take a year to report its findings, but has now taken more than eight. In the meantime Mr Rees and the Vians were awarded damages of £414,000 after winning a malicious prosecution case against the force. Mr Rees is now seeking personal damages from David Cook. Mr Morgan believes the Met delayed the panel's inquiry by preventing access to now retired David Cook until last year, while it looked into a series of misconduct allegations that led to no findings. He said: "We felt David Cook wanted to get to the truth. There were mistakes, but imagine trying to pick up this case after 15 years. "In my view the Met wanted to delay the panel from speaking to Mr Cook with all these misconduct cases to turn the spotlight away from real corruption at the start." David Cook now has a formal complaint against the Met over his treatment during civil actions brought by the suspects. Mr Bhatt added in the briefing: "David Cook... has confirmed to Daniel’s family his view that this case is symptomatic of an institutional malaise in relation to corruption within the Metropolitan Police, current and ongoing, which needs to be addressed if others are to avoid the devastation that has been wreaked on the lives of Daniel’s family." A Met Police spokeswoman said the complaint from Mr Cook received last summer has "been allocated to a Detective Superintendent who will complete an assessment and identify appropriate next steps." She added: "We won’t be commenting further on any other matters as to not pre-empt the publication of the report. "All of these matters will be covered in our response to the report after it’s been made public."