Daniel Morgan death: Met Police accused of ‘institutional corruption’ over 1987 unsolved murder

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Daniel Morgan's murder case has become one of Scotland Yard's longest-running cold cases - Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Daniel Morgan's murder case has become one of Scotland Yard's longest-running cold cases - Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

Dame Cressida Dick is facing calls to resign after a damning report into the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan accused the force of "institutional corruption".

Mr Morgan’s brother Alistair, who has fought a 34-year campaign for justice, said the Met Commissioner had frustrated and delayed the independent inquiry, and he said she should now consider her position.

In a 1,200 page report, published yesterday, Scotland Yard was accused of having repeatedly covered up or ignored widespread corruption and of putting the protection of its own reputation before solving a brutal murder.

Mr Morgan, who ran Southern Investigations with his business partner Jonathan Rees, was found dead with an axe embedded in his skull in a pub car park in south east London on March 10 1987.

Daniel Morgan Murder  - Jonathan Buckmaster 
Daniel Morgan Murder - Jonathan Buckmaster

Despite five police inquiries, nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted in connection with his death.

In 2013, Theresa May, then the home secretary, ordered an independent review into the Met's handling of the murder.

Published on Tuesday the long awaited 1,200 page report - which cost £16 million to produce - found that the original 1987 murder investigation had been beset by "very significant failings" from the moment of the discovery of Mr Morgan’s body.

As well as failing to secure the crime scene, the police had not sought alibis for all the suspects and had failed to follow numerous important lines of inquiry properly.

Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery was assigned to the case despite the fact he was close friends with the prime suspect Mr Rees.

The report identified a culture within the Met at the time in which it was not uncommon for officers to mix socially with people linked to crime, even drinking with them in pubs.

Some officers were also found to have been involved in "lucrative corrupt practices" such as selling confidential information to private detectives and journalists.

Southern Investigations was subsequently found to have close links to the News of the World, which was closed down in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

But the report found no evidence to support the theory that Mr Morgan had been murdered because he was about to expose police corruption.

The 1,200 page report took eight years to complete
The 1,200 page report took eight years to complete

After the initial bungled police investigation, a series of subsequent inquiries were also beset with allegations of cover up and corruption, the independent panel found.

An investigation into the murder led by Hampshire Police and the Police Complaints Authority in 1988 even praised the Met for its determination to bring the killers to justice.

But the panel said it was clear the investigation had been far from independent and had hidden information from the family of Mr Morgan.

The report concluded that the family of Mr Morgan had “suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his murderers to justice”.

It also accused the Met of failing to acknowledge professional "incompetence", "venal behaviour on the part of some individual officers and managerial and organisational failures".

The report said: "Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for repetitional benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption."

Baroness Nuala O’Loan, the chairman of the independent panel, said that corruption was not purely historical but was still present within the force.

Alistair Morgan, brother of Daniel Morgan, said Cressida Dick should "absolutely" be considering her position in light of the report into his murder. - John Stillwell/PA Wire
Alistair Morgan, brother of Daniel Morgan, said Cressida Dick should "absolutely" be considering her position in light of the report into his murder. - John Stillwell/PA Wire

Dame Cressida was personally criticised in the report for delaying the panel’s work by not handing over information and not allowing access to the Met’s database in a timely manner.

Mr Morgan’s brother said: "Cressida Dick was in charge of the disclosure, she has made it very difficult."

He said she ought to now consider her position, adding: "The police hate scrutiny and she has been true to form in that respect."

Responding to the report, Dame Cressida apologised for the force's failings.

She said: "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 cooperation 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."

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said he did not accept that the Met was “institutional corrupt” but conceded it had been one of the worst days in the force's recent history.

Alastair Morgan  - Kirsty O'Connor /PA
Alastair Morgan - Kirsty O'Connor /PA

Responding to the report, the family said in a statement: "We welcome the recognition that we - and the public at large - 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."

Daniel Morgan - HENRY NICHOLLS /REUTERS
Daniel Morgan - HENRY NICHOLLS /REUTERS

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, making a statement on the Daniel Morgan report, told MPs: "It's devastating that 34 years after he was murdered, nobody has been brought to justice."

Ms Patel described the Morgan case as "one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the Metropolitan Police".

She told MPs: "The report itself is deeply alarming and finds examples of corrupt behaviour - corrupt behaviour was not limited to the first investigation, that the Metropolitan Police made a litany of mistakes and that this irreparably damaged the chances of successful prosecution of Daniel Morgan's murder."

Ms Patel added: "The report accuses the Metropolitan Police of a form of institutional corruption.

"Police corruption is a betrayal of everything policing stands for in this country. It erodes public confidence in our entire criminal justice system. It undermines democracy and civilised society.

"We look to the police to protect us and so they are invested with great power."

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