Murder Inquiries

Four police inquiries into murder

On 10th March 1987, private investigator Daniel Morgan was brutally axed to death in the car park of a pub in Sydenham, south east London. During the first Met inquiry, three serving detectives were arrested on suspicion of involvement for the killing. One of these was actually a member of the squad investigating the murder. The two other officers later won damages as a result of their arrest.

At an inquest in April 1988, a bookkeeper employed by Daniel’s company Southern Investigations alleged that Daniel’s partner, Jonathan Rees, and Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery - a member of the murder squad – had planned the contract murder. Bookkeeper Kevin Lennon also alleged that Fillery planned early retirement and would step into Daniel’s shoes at Southern Investigations. By the time of the inquest, Fillery had already left the Police force and was working together with Rees. The inquest also heard allegations from other witnesses that Fillery had tampered with evidence and attempted to interfere with witnesses during the inquiry. Lennon made his statement seven months before the inquest. In the weeks before his murder Daniel Morgan had repeatedly expressed concerns over corrupt police officers in south London.

A complaint from the horrified family initiated an outside inquiry by Hampshire police in July 1988. Its terms of reference were to investigate “all aspects of police involvement arising from the death of Daniel Morgan”. Unknown to Daniel’s family, the remit of this inquiry was secretly changed at a high level meeting at Scotland Yard in December 1988. Hampshire police later charged Jonathan Rees and another civilian with the murder, but the case was dropped before trial. Hampshire later reported to the Police Complaints Authority that there was “no evidence whatsoever of police involvement in the murder”.

Shocked by this conclusion, the family began lobbying MPs Chris Smith (Islington South & Finsbury) and Richard Livesey (Brecon & Radnor). The family and their MPs held a series of meetings with senior Scotland Yard officers culminated in a meeting with Met Commissioner Sir Paul Condon in November 1997. Condon promised to review the case.

Late in 1998 and without the knowledge of the Morgan family, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Roy Clark head of Scotland Yard’s ‘ghost squad’ began a covert inquiry into the murder. This involved the bugging of Southern Investigations’ offices in Thornton Heath. Only in July 1999 did the family learn of the inquiry through an article leaked by police to the Daily Telegraph. In December 2000, Jonathan Rees, Simon Jones and detective constable Austin Warnes were convicted of conspiring to plant cocaine on a woman in order to discredit her in a child custody battle. No one was charged with the murder of Daniel Morgan.

Troubled by the secrecy of this inquiry, the Morgan family demanded disclosure of the 1989 report from Hampshire police. DAC Roy Clark agreed to this, but the family rejected his draconian terms. First he requested that the family indemnify Hampshire police against civil action before reading the report. When this was rejected, he offered to read the 83 page report to the family but would allow them to take no notes or record. The family began litigation to force disclosure. In 2002 the Met began a fourth inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan and in September 2003 the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

New Scotland Yard
New Scotland Yard

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