Family’s anger as Priti Patel delays report into 1987 murder of private detective

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Daniel Morgan - Metropolitan Police
Daniel Morgan - Metropolitan Police

The family of Daniel Morgan are "suspicious" of Priti Patel's motives after the Home Secretary delayed the publication of an independent report into the private investigator's murder at the 11th hour.

Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of a pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10, 1987.

Despite five police inquiries and two collapsed trials, nobody has been brought to justice over the killing and there have been allegations of police corruption and cover-ups linked to the now defunct News of the World newspaper.

An independent report ordered by Theresa May in 2013 had been due to be made public on Monday – but Ms Patel has put its publication on ice, claiming checks to ensure there is no threat to national security or risk to life need to be made.

Raju Bhatt, the Morgan family's lawyer, said: "From the family's perspective, they have every reason to be suspicious about the motives behind this very belated and completely unwarranted intervention by the Home Secretary.

"We have to remember that the Home Office itself was complicit in the failings to confront this police corruption all through these decades until the panel [that carried out the inquiry] was set up."

The panel also expressed concern at the Home Secretary's move, saying in a statement: "This review is being sought on the basis of the Home Office ensuring the report's compliance with the department's obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and for reasons of national security.

"The Home Office advised it would make redactions if it did not consider the Report complied with these obligations.

"A review of this nature has not been raised previously in the eight years since the panel was established in 2013. The panel believes that this last-minute requirement is unnecessary and is not consistent with the panel's independence."

The panel's remit was to address questions relating to the murder, including the police handling of the case, the role corruption played in protecting Morgan's killer and the links between private investigators, police and journalists connected to the case.

A Home Office spokesman said: "Under the terms it was commissioned in 2013, it is for the Home Secretary to publish the report, which she hopes to do as soon as possible. The Home Secretary also has an obligation to make sure the report complies with human rights and national security considerations.

"This has nothing to do with the independence of the report and the Home Office is not seeking to make edits to it. As soon as we receive the report, we can begin those checks and agree a publication date.

"The Home Secretary fully supports the family first approach and is hoping to meet them to discuss the report and its findings in person."

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