The incredibly horrific and disturbing murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan happened in March 1987. Despite campaigning for the past 29 years’ justice has eluded his close and grieving family to this day.
Morgan was found in a pub car park with an axe imbedded in his skull, bludgeoned three times. Careful taping around the axe’s handle suggested planning eliminating any chance to slip off target. With only his watch missing, his wallet and a £1000 of cash remained on his person meant robbery could be ruled out as motive.
Morgan was said to be uncovering police corruption as part of his work at his company, Southern Investigations at the time.
What followed were complexities and inconsistencies.
All covered in meticulous detail in an entirely crowdfunded 10-part podcast, originating from independent journalism site Byline.com, by investigative journalist Peter Jukes working closely with Alastair Morgan; the victim’s brother.
Police who were involved to investigate the murder, were revealed to be murder suspects; those who were close, couldn’t be trusted, and those in positions of authority and power were exploitative.
The many layers stemming from this murder and beyond are mired in police corruption, media corruption and consistent failings of the judiciary.
Investigation after investigation failed, five in all; one conducted in secret.
Detective Superintendent David Cook, with whom the Morgan family had expressed confidence, led one inquiry declaring "one of the worst-kept secrets in south-east London" stating "a whole cabal of people" knew the identity of at least some of those involved.
Morgan founded Southern Investigations with Jonathan Rees. They hired Sid Fillery.
Despite being put on Daniel’s murder case, Detective Sid Fillery did not disclose that he, himself, had been working with Rees and Morgan. Although he testified that he removed himself four days after he realised it was a conflict of interest, the officer in charge said he was the one who removed Fillery.
Efforts were made to blacken Morgan’s character; he’d had an affair with a client or that Colombian drug dealers were involved, consequently discredited by Cook.
Arrested for the murder less than a month later, Fillery was released without charge, citing depression he left the Met on a full pension a year later, astonishingly revealing at Daniel Morgan’s inquest when questioned Fillery had now joined Southern Investigations and now working with Jonathan Rees. Only this month Sid Fillery has been awarded damages from the Met police by a court.
The deception continues over the years incorporating corrupt police working with News Media organisations.
Rees being found in 2011 to be earning £150k per year from the News of the World, for sourcing illegally obtained information on the rich and famous.
Although successfully prosecuted Rees was hired again by Andy Coulson.
Rees simply contacted his network of corrupt police officers to share confidential information leading to publication in the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror. Rees had also extended himself to commission burglaries on request from journalists. Southern also now having dealings with Mahzer Mahmood; the 'Fake Sheikh' teaching him and sharing corrupt sources.
The Daniel Morgan murder and all that is related to it is now the subject of a Home Office inquiry; Theresa May, the then Home Secretary stated in 2013 there would be "no likelihood of any successful prosecutions being brought in the foreseeable future" adding that the independent panel would "shine a light" on the circumstances of his murder and the handling of the case.
The Daniel Morgan murder raises serious concerns about the influence and power of some media giants who operate with those willing to deals for a price.
How trustworthy are the police? With the IP Bill passed and the data they are legally allowed to capture on journalists and the public in general, what does this say about the security of rights and freedoms?
As for the media where and how are they getting their sources; sometimes it’s not ethical; it’s not legal, so what can we do about it?
Indeed, Alastair Morgan says “Journalism is in crisis; what disturbs me today is that much journalism does not have the public interest at heart. we need to talk seriously about this and work to improve this situation.”
This vital crowdfunded piece of detailed investigative journalism describes injustice, corruption and murder. Publishing it with independent funding it has sparked attention and awareness continuing at the Byline festival.
Come hear unmissable diverse, compelling and revealing discussion of the case integrating the policing and media implication with Peter Jukes, Alastair Morgan, Rob Beckley, the former deputy head of the College of Policing and author of police corruption book ‘Untouchables’ Laurie Flynn.
Byline Festival is 2-4th June 2017 Pippingford Park.
*Jukes and Morgan are currently in the process of finalising a co-authored book.