Police who took bungs in brown envelopes, ‘moonlighted’ in other jobs and sold lucrative information to criminals may have scuppered the probe into Daniel Morgan’s murder, today’s report revealed.
Father-of-two Mr Morgan was killed with an axe to the head in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10, 1987 while he was probing corrupt officers.
And bent cops may have sunk the investigation having ‘thought that their police careers and pensions were under threat’ and that ‘future, potentially lucrative corrupt practices’ would be stopped, today’s report says.
Officers were even paid not to arrest criminals who controlled their bosses, who also demanded 10 per cent of detectives’ overtime and expenses payments to be paid to them each month, it is alleged.
The inquiry found that local officers in south London could have been involved in ‘lucrative corrupt practices’, including selling confidential information, assisting criminals with inside information and ‘moonlighting’.
The car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, where Mr Morgan was murdered
Daniel Morgan, a private investigator who was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub
Describing the culture at the time, one unnamed Detective Constable told the Panel of a practice in the world-famous Flying Squad. He said: ‘If you got posted to their squad the first morning you would find a brown envelope on your desk with money in it. If you didn’t accept it then the result was that by lunchtime you were posted back to your old position.’
Today’s damning report has been eight years in the making – although the inquiry blamed Met secrecy for preventing it being done and dusted in 12 months. It cost £16million.
Running to more than 1,200 pages, the panel scrutinised 110,000 documents amounting to more than a million pages as well as a substantial amount of sensitive or secret material held by police as it examined the murder of the private investigator which took place more than 30 years ago.
Father-of-two Daniel Morgan (left) was killed with an axe to the head on March 10, 1987. Pictured on the right is Cressida Dick, who was criticised in the report
The panel accuses the Metropolitan Police of a ‘form of institutional corruption’ for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved killing – and said its handling of the case means that his killers will likely escape justice.
It found the force’s first objective was to ‘protect itself’ by failing to acknowledge its many failings since the murder. The report is being viewed as a watershed moment for the force, similar to when it was found to be ‘institutionally racist’ following the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Today, Dame Cressida apologised for failings in the Daniel Morgan case, saying 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’.
Here are the key conclusions that shame the Met:
The police’s handling of the murder scene in 1987 was ‘totally inadequate’ as it was not secured and was left unguarded
The report says: ‘There were multiple very significant failings in the conduct of this investigation from the moment of the discovery of Daniel Morgan’s body.
The management and administration of the investigation was poor, and in many respects was not compliant with relevant policies and procedures.
The report that shames the Met: Key findings from eight-year, £16million inquiry into murder of Daniel Morgan
- The report criticised ‘dishonesty’ by the Metropolitan Police for ‘reputation benefit’ which it said ‘constitutes a form of institutional corruption’
- The police’s handling of the murder scene in 1987 was ‘totally inadequate’ as it was not secured and was left unguarded;
- Alibis were not sought for all suspects, search warrants were ‘seriously inadequate’ and many opportunities lost were not retrievable;
- Evidence of a culture within the Met at the time which allowed ‘very close association’ between police officers and ‘individuals linked to crime’ which included them drinking in pubs together;
- Officers who were involved in ‘lucrative corrupt practices’ such as selling confidential details may have been concerned by indications that Mr Morgan was going to report corruption;
- Some ten officers involved in the police investigations were Freemasons, which had aroused suspicions of conflicting loyalties;
- Mr Morgan’s family ‘suffered grievously’ because of the failure to bring his murderer or murderers to justice, ‘misinformation’ and a ‘denial of the failings’ in the investigations;
- A later probe by an external force, Hampshire, was found to have been compromised by the inclusion of a senior Met officer on the team
- Also criticised the Met for then Assistant Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick’s initial refusal to grant access to a police internal data system called HOLMES and the most sensitive information;
‘The handling of the scene of the murder was totally inadequate – it was not searched and was left unguarded’.
The report says hardly any photos were taken of the crime scene, and the Met says the ones that were ‘cannot now be found’.
‘The photographs taken at the murder scene were very limited and cover only the area in which Daniel Morgan’s body lay. D/Supt Douglas Campbell should have required that photographs be taken of the complete crime scene that night. Photographs should also have been subsequently taken of the whole premises, including ways in and out of the Golden Lion public house and its car park.
‘A tyre skid mark can be seen in one of the photographs, very close to Daniel Morgan’s body in the car park. While it would not have been possible to use that photograph to allow a forensic scientist to compare the mark with the tyres of any suspect vehicle recovered by the police later, because it lacked sufficient detail and clarity’ The report adds: ‘No attempt to seek any examination of the tyre mark can be identified in the available records’.
Alibis were not sought for all suspects, search warrants were ‘seriously inadequate’ and many opportunities lost were not retrievable
The inquiry raised serious questions about the hunt for evidence linked to the crime, including forensic evidence such as blood on clothing.
The report says there was no ‘evidential continuity’ for many of the exhibits seized during the investigation and that lines of enquiry were not followed through properly.
It says: A search for clothing was particularly necessary as it might have uncovered relevant evidence. Since Jonathan Rees was the last known person to have seen Daniel Morgan alive, D/Supt Douglas Campbell should, at least, have briefed his officers to search for and seize any items similar to the clothes which Jonathan Rees was wearing on the day of the murder, as described by the various witnesses, and any black or dark shoes.
‘Although the clothing which Jonathan Rees was wearing when he attended Catford Police Station had been subjected to a visual check on the night of the murder, further scientific tests could have been conducted to detect, for example, the presence of Daniel Morgan’s blood’.
The report adds: ‘There is evidence that some of those who were arrested in connection with the murder on 03 April 1987, may have been alerted to their forthcoming arrests by a leak to the media the day before they were arrested’.
Alastair Morgan (right), the brother of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan, with his partner Kirsteen Knight and family solicitor Raju Bhatt (centre) speak to the media following the publication of the report at Church House today
Evidence of a culture within the Met at the time which allowed ‘very close association’ between police officers and ‘individuals linked to crime’ which included them drinking in pubs together;
The inquiry found widespread corruption linked to the case – and that police officers would be drinking with those linked to his murder.
The report says: ‘From the outset, there have been allegations that police officers were involved in the murder, and that corruption by police officers somehow played a part in protecting those who committed it from being brought to justice.
‘There is evidence of a culture within the Metropolitan Police in 1987, which permitted very close association between police officers who were either members of the investigation or were close to those who were part of the investigation team, and individuals linked to crime.
‘There is extensive evidence of police officers meeting DS Sidney Fillery, Jonathan Rees and others in various public houses around the area and drinking with them, even after both DS Fillery and Jonathan Rees had been arrested and continued to be suspects for the murder of Daniel Morgan.
‘There is evidence that the investigation of Daniel Morgan’s murder was discussed on some of these occasions, and that Jonathan Rees used these social interactions to obtain information about the investigation.
‘There have been indications since 1987 that Daniel Morgan had been going to report police corruption, and to sell a story about corruption to the media. The nature of that corruption has never been established.
‘There were a number of possibilities, some of which were never examined fully, including a connection between the recovery by Daniel Morgan of a Range Rover from Malta in February 1987, and a major fraud investigation being conducted by West Yorkshire Police’
Kirsteen Knight, (left) the partner of Alastair Morgan, the brother of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan, speaking to the media following the publication of today’s report
Officers who were involved in ‘lucrative corrupt practices’ such as selling confidential details may have been concerned by indications that Mr Morgan was going to report corruption
The inquiry found that local officers ins South London may have been involved in ‘lucrative corrupt practices’, such as, selling confidential information, assisting criminals with inside police information and ‘moonlighting’.
Today’s report suggests that officers scuppered the probe into Daniel’s murder having ‘thought that their police careers and pensions were under threat, and that future, potentially lucrative, options might be put at risk by Daniel Morgan’s alleged intention to reveal what he knew’. This is a reference to police corruption.
‘The evidence supporting this theory as to why Daniel Morgan was murdered was never seriously investigated, despite the fact that in the years following Daniel Morgan’s murder, several of the police officers connected to Daniel Morgan’s circles and business were investigated for and convicted of serious crime’, the inquiry found.
The ‘spectre of freemasonry’ that hung over the investigation
The report dealt in detail about the influence of Freemasonry on the Met, and whether members of the secret society could have either commissioned Mr Morgan’s murder or acted together to cover up what had happened.
Ten officers involved in the police investigations were Masons, according to the 1251-page document, which led to suspicions among fellow officers about their ‘conflicting loyalties’.
Detective sergeant Sid Fillery, who joined Southern Investigations after Mr Morgan died, was a Master of two different Lodges in 1993 and 1996, and regularly met other officers at meetings.
Freemasons are required to swear an oath of secrecy, which prevents them from sharing details of what is discussed at meetings.
The fact that so many investigating officers were Masons led to suspicions among police colleagues about their conflicting loyalties, the report stated.
However, Baroness O’Loan insisted there was no evidence found to suggest Masonic connections were a factor in Mr Morgan’s murder, or that they were improperly deployed to frustrate the investigations into it.
Nonetheless, the panel called for police officers to be required to declare membership of any secret societies when they join the service to avoid the ‘suspicion’ that they could be influenced by external loyalties.
Today’s damning report has been eight years in the making – although the inquiry blamed Met secrecy for preventing it being done and dusted in 12 months. It cost £16million
Met Police chief Cressida Dick slammed for ‘placing hurdles’ in probe’s path
Today’s report will make uncomfortable reading for Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, with the authors accusing her of ‘placing hurdles’ in their path by refusing to give them access to a vital police database.
The HOLMES system – named after Sherlock Holmes – is used by UK police forces to investigate complicated crimes such as serial murders and high-value frauds.
The compilers of today’s report wanted to gain access to the system to gather information for their inquiry, but were initially refused by Dame Cressida, then Assistant Commissioner.
Access to the database was ‘essential’ because many of the documents were only available in online form, and her refusal caused ‘very significant delays’, the report stated.
‘The Metropolitan Police’s lack of candour manifested itself in the hurdles placed in the path of the Panel, such as (then Assistant Commissioner) Cressida Dick’s initial refusal to recognise the necessity for the Panel to have access to the HOLMES system,’ the authors wrote.
Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair told reporters Dame Cressida should ‘absolutely’ be considering her position in light of the report.
The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt said: ‘You heard from the panel that the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense.
‘The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.’
Mr Morgan’s family ‘suffered grievously’ because of the failure to bring his murderer or murderers to justice, ‘misinformation’ and a ‘denial of the failings’ in the investigations
While Daniel Morgan was the victim of a horrifying murder, his family including his mother, brother and two children have also suffered in the past three decades.
Today’s report said Scotland Yard’s treatment of Mr Morgan’s relatives has been appalling since he died in 1987.
The report says: ‘The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his murderer(s) to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of the failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional incompetence, individuals’ venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.
‘The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings. 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’
It adds: ‘Among its recommendations, the Panel has proposed the creation of a statutory duty of candour, to be owed by all law enforcement agencies to those whom they serve, subject to protection of national security and relevant data protection legislation’.
Who is Daniel Morgan and why was he murdered?
Daniel Morgan, who worked as a private detective, was killed after leaving a pub
Despite five police investigations and an inquest, no-one has ever been brought to justice over private investigator Daniel Morgan’s killing in 1987.
The Metropolitan Police have previously admitted the initial inquiry into the unsolved case was blighted by police corruption.
Here is a timeline of key dates:
– March 10 1987: Daniel Morgan is murdered with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London.
– April 1988: An inquest into his death records a verdict of unlawful killing.
– June 1988: Hampshire police begin investigating the murder and the Metropolitan Police handling of the case.
– February 1989: Mr Morgan’s business partner Jonathan Rees and his associate Paul Goodridge are charged with murder and Mr Goodridge’s girlfriend Jean Wisden is charged with perverting the course of justice.
– May 1989: The case is dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Goodridge later sues Hampshire Constabulary.
– 1997: A new investigation is opened into Mr Morgan’s death, but ends when separate crimes are uncovered. In September 1999, Mr Rees is charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice over a plot to plant cocaine on a woman involved in a custody dispute, and later jailed for six years, raised to seven years on appeal.
– Late 2000: A formal review is carried out of the case, which leads to another investigation opening the following year. It is closed in March 2003 with no charges brought.
– February 2004: Mr Morgan’s family call on the Government to open a public inquiry into the case, but it is refused.
– April 2008: Five people are arrested and charged in connection with the case. Jonathan Rees, his brothers-in-law Glenn and Garry Vian, and an associate, James Cook, were charged with Mr Morgan’s murder, while former police officer Sid Fillery was charged with perverting the course of justice.
– March 2011: The prosecution collapses after police failings relating to disclosure of evidence and handling of informants. In the wake of the collapse, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell and Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin both acknowledge that corruption hampered the early investigations into Mr Morgan’s death.
– 2013: Then-home secretary Theresa May announces that an independent panel will be set up to examine the case.
– July 2019: Mr Rees and the Vian brothers are all awarded six-figure sums in damages after successfully suing the Metropolitan Police for malicious prosecution. A High Court judge rules that Mr Rees and Glenn Vian should each receive £155,000, and Garry Vian should get £104,000.
– May 18 2021: The Independent Panel is due to publish its report, but suffers delays due to the Home Office initially claiming no Parliamentary time can be found to make publication possible, and then insisting it wishes to review the document and make redactions as it sees necessary on national security or human rights grounds.
– May 28: An agreement is reached that a small team of Home Office officials will be allowed to read the report before its publication on June 15, with any redactions marked in footnotes. Mr Morgan’s family will also be allowed to read the full report.
– June 8: The Home Office confirms that the full, unredacted report will be published on June 15.
– June 15: The Met is damned and family call for Dame Cressida Dick to resign.