By Simon Basketter
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Cover-up! How the state helped hide the truth about the murder of Daniel Morgan

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Issue 2759
Private investigator Daniel Morgan was found dead in a pub car park in Sydenham, south London
Private investigator Daniel Morgan was found dead in south east London. His death raises many questions. (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Daniel Morgan was ­murdered beside his car at the back of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south east London, in 1987. He had met his business partner Jonathan Rees for a drink.

His killing came a week after Morgan revealed that he was taking allegations of police corruption to the News of the World. After that it gets complicated.

Despite five police investigations, no one has ever been convicted of his murder.

The police have admitted ­corruption in the initial investigation.

The evidence boxes in Scotland Yard emit a stench reaching to the highest levels.

Although his watch was missing, Morgan’s wallet was not, and there was more than £1,000 in cash in his jacket.

On the other hand his trouser pocket had been torn open and there was no sign of notes he had been writing in the pub.

Three years before his murder he had set up a private investigation ­company, Southern Investigations, with Jonathan Rees.

The Golden Lion in Sydenham was a regular drinking haunt for Rees and for the Catford police officers he paid for information, and occasionally for jobs.

An independent panel has been ­investigating the case for eight years and was expected to publish its report this week.

The panel, which was appointed by then home secretary Theresa May in 2013, was asked to carry out a “full and effective review of corruption as it affected the handling of this case”.

Daniel Morgan murder report censored
Daniel Morgan murder report censored
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On the night of the murder Detective Superintendent Douglas Campbell, the officer in charge of the investigation, had been drinking.

He turned up at the crime scene drunk, and allegedly the first thing he did on his arrival was to get the pub landlord to open a bottle of Scotch.

Second in charge was Detective Alan Jones. The following day Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery, a member of the Serious and Organised Crime squad based at Catford Police station, joined the investigation.

He was a close friend and regular drinking companion of Rees.

Fillery had been drinking with Morgan and Rees in the Golden Lion on the night before the murder. He took Rees’s witness statement.

Southern Investigations had a debt to a security customer—Belmont Cars Auctions.

The firm had a contract to bank the takings from Belmont’s twice weekly car auctions.

Rees had been attacked and robbed of £18,280.62 of Belmont’s cash in March the previous year.

That robbery was probably a put up job and carried out by two Catford police officers.

Campbell arrested Fillery, and two other cops from Catford Police Station.

Rees and his two brothers in law, Glenn and Garry Vian, were also arrested and questioned under caution about the murder.

Fillery, who had been at the Belmont Auction with Rees on the day he was robbed, visited Southern Investigations office the day after the murder, and left with the Belmont file.

Campbell concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution. All six suspects were released.

After a second police inquiry in 1988 came to nothing Sid Fillery retired from the police and became, as planned, Rees’s new partner in Southern Investigations.

Bent cops planted drugs on people—and then newspapers splashed stories

Anti-corruption cops placed a covert listening device inside Jonathan Rees’s office in 1999.

Rees had been working for Fleet Street newspapers for several years and had pulled a network of corrupt sources around him.

Detective constable Tom Kingston collected cash for himself, and for a friend who was an intelligence officer protecting the royal family.

Kingston worked for the South East Regional Crime Squad. He sold Jonathan Rees a Special Branch report disclosing police knowledge of a crime gang in London.

He also sold him Police Gazette bulletins listing suspects who were wanted for arrest, and threat assessments in relation to the terrorist targets that his mate was supposed to be protecting.

New documentary on the murder of Daniel Morgan
New documentary on the murder of Daniel Morgan
  Read More

Kingston ended up in prison for selling a huge quantity of amphetamines that he had stolen from a drug dealer.

Private investigators Duncan Hanrahan and Martin King, who worked with Rees for News International, were both jailed in relation to police corruption.

Rees made no secret of criminality. He told a Daily Mirror journalist to be careful what they wrote down “because what we’re doing is illegal, isn’t it?” He added, “I don’t want people coming in and nicking us for a criminal offence, you know.”

The newspaper “stings” went along these lines.

A cop would tell Southern that someone was dealing drugs. The investigations firm would then have drugs planted on someone or have someone try to buy drugs. The papers got an exclusive, the cops got an arrest and everyone got paid.

Sid Fillery was convicted in 2004 of 15 counts of making indecent images of children and one count of possessing indecent images.

Rees was in 2000 convicted of trying to plant cocaine on a women on behalf of a client, But despite him receiving a seven‑year sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice The News of the World rehired him in 2005.

Andy Coulson was then editor of News of the World newspaper. He resigned as editor in 2007 and went on to become chief spin doctor for David Cameron.

Cases linked by corruption

Operation Tiberius is a confidential police report from 2001 describing corruption in the Metropolitan Police.

The Met hid the report for over a decade. It uncovered “endemic police corruption linked to major organised crime”.

Crooks were “able to infiltrate the police at will”. It said, “Existing murder investigations have been compromised and sensitive intelligence has leaked from other organised crime investigations.”

Gangster and police informant Kenneth Noye had many links to corrupt police officers. One of Noye’s criminal associates was Clifford Norris.

Clifford is the father of David Norris—one of those convicted of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Noye’s handler was a cop called Ray Adams. Adams was an investigator in the Lawrence murder.


Detective constable Alan Holmes was his friend, colleague and golfing partner. Holmes took money from south London gangsters.

Holmes had been working with Daniel Morgan. They were about to expose claims of police corruption that involved passing information to the News of the World newspaper.

Holmes apparently killed himself in July 1987 during a corruption investigation into Adams. It was three months after the murder of Daniel Morgan.

The phone hacking connection

The unresolved case of Daniel Morgan’s murder looms over the phone hacking scandal.

Hacking exposed a world where journalists handed over wads of cash to police officers in return for information.

There is a clandestine network of con-men, bent coppers, corrupt civil servants and impersonators that are sub-contracted by private detectives. In the shadows are the people who do the dirty work for the establishment—former cops and spies.

The cops’ systematic use of bribery in order to leak information to frame some people and cover up the corruption of others is yet to be fully revealed.

Murdoch shut down the News of the World and numerous cases were settled out of court.

The Leveson public inquiry into hacking didn’t even look at the relationship between the press and the cops.

Met boss Cressida Dick set to face direct criticism

Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Met Police pictured right.
Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Met Police pictured right. (Pic: Sludge G/Flickr)

The current boss of the Metropolitan Police, Dame Cressida Dick, was expected to be specifically criticised over Scotland Yard’s obstruction to the panel inquiry.

The Metropolitan Police commissioner and other senior officers will be accused of delaying the inquiry by trying to control the disclosure of sensitive police documents.

Superintendent David Cook headed one police investigation into Morgan’s murder. The News of the World put Cook and his wife Jacqui Hames, a former police officer, under surveillance on behalf of Southern Investigations.

A murder trial collapsed in 2011 after concerns about the police handling of “supergrass” witnesses and the Met’s failure to disclose sensitive police files.

It was Cook’s dubious coaching of witnesses, “noble cause” corruption as it is sometimes called, that undermined the prosecution.

Dick, then assistant commissioner, produced a joint report with the Crown Prosecution Service that detailed the failings in the case. When the panel was first announced, she was made the liaison between it and the Met.

The panel inquiry was supposed to take a year. It has taken eight. That’s partially because of the successful way that Dick did her job.

Cook is currently suing the Met and Johnathan Rees is suing Cook.

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