Ministers rule out inquiry into death of detective

The Guardian - by Sarah Hall

7th July 2004

The Home Office yesterday ruled out a judicial inquiry into the 17 year old murder of a private detective, despite an MP raising questions about the key investigating role of a former police officer suspected of being involved in the death.

Roger Williams, the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, took the unusual step of using parliamentary privilege to name ex-police sergeant Sidney Fillery, who now co-owns a detective agency set up by the victim, Daniel Morgan.

Mr Williams also asked whether the government was unwilling to hold an inquiry because it would prove uncomfortable for the Home Office and the Metropolitan police.

Speaking in a Commons adjournment debate, the MP said Mr Fillery had been one of the officers at Catford CID who played a key role in the first four days of the initial murder inquiry.

During those four crucial ‘golden days’, Mr Williams said, Mr Fillery conducted the first interview with the main suspect, his friend and Mr Morgan’s business partner Jonathan Rees.

He also had “the opportunity to take possession of key incriminating files . . . including Daniel’s diary, which has never been found”.

Mr Williams, in whose constituency Mr Morgan’s mother, Isabel Hulsmann, lives, said Metropolitan police officers who conducted a fourth investigation last year described the case as “the worst mess they had ever seen”.

According to Mr Williams, the Met said “the real mischief” lay in the initial investigation in 1987, and “the role of ex-police sergeant Sidney Fillery in that investigation lay at the heart of the mischief”.

The Met investigators, Mr Williams said, also argued that a number of other police officers had sought to protect Mr Fillery.

In addition, Mr Fillery had spoken of retiring from the police force and taking up Mr Morgan’s seat in his business, along with Mr Rees - something he subsequently achieved.

One witness had heard Mr Rees “talking about having Daniel killed and arranging for police officers at Catford CID to be involved in the murder and its subsequent cover-up,” said the MP. “Fillery was . . . among those officers.”

Calling for a public judicial inquiry, Mr Williams said: “The government’s attitude towards the murder of Daniel Morgan so far has not been one of openness, collaboration, and firm, fair action, but one of sustained damage limitation.”

His mother had been “left not only with the immeasurable grief of having lost a son in the most brutal murder but also with the spectacle of the criminal justice system’s failure, again and again, to bring those responsible for that murder to answer for their actions”.

But the Home Office minister, Caroline Flint, insisted that two independent investigations into the case - one by the Hampshire force and another by the coroner - had found “there was nothing to warrant the suggestion of police involvement” in the murder.

“I can only offer my sincere sympathy to the family . . . and I am sure my response will be a disappointment,” the minister added.

Outside the Commons Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair said he would take the issue up with the police minister, Hazel Blears. 

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