Morgan murder linked to Brinks Mat robbery

The Western Mail - by Martin Shipton

28th September 2004

An astonishing link has been claimed between the murder of a Welsh private detective 17 years ago and the notorious Brinks Mat bullion robbery.

Today’s publication of a book that alleges a link provides a huge boost to the campaign for a public inquiry into the axe killing of Daniel Morgan.

The body of Mr Morgan, who was brought up in Wales and whose mother lives in Powys, was found in the car park of a London pub. His family is convinced he was killed because he had uncovered evidence of widespread police corruption.

The murder is repeatedly referred to in ‘Untouchables’, a book by investigative journalists Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn, that claims there has been serious criminal misconduct inside the Metropolitan Police.

Over more than 500 pages, the book catalogues numerous instances of alleged collusion between police officers and criminals and argues that attempts to stamp out corruption have been frustrated.

The authors also suggest a series of honourable police officers have been the victims of false allegations and had their careers ruined after seeking to expose irregularities.

Based on official documents and more than 1,000 interviews during the course of six years, with criminals, supergrasses, police whistleblowers, former anti-corruption officers and judges, the book is expected to have a major impact.

It tells how at the inquest into Daniel Morgan’s death, Detective Superintendent Douglas Campbell, who was heading the murder inquiry, gave evidence that he was told Mr Morgan had been offered £250,000 by a newspaper for information he had about police corruption. Mr Campbell told the inquest he considered the suggestion “quite ludicrous”, but the book claims it was feasible.

“To earn that much from Fleet Street, Daniel Morgan had to have been on to something very big. One South London detective called Derek Haslam believes he was. According to Haslam, Daniel’s best contact in the south London police was Detective Constable Alan ‘Taffy’ Holmes.”

“He illegally obtained police information for Southern Investigations, Daniel Morgan’s firm. But Haslam claims Taffy Holmes and Daniel were getting ready to blow the whistle just before the private detective was killed.

“At the time of the murder, Taffy Holmes was serving on the Brinks Mat investigation. He killed himself four months after Daniel (was murdered). At the time of his suicide he was being investigated for corruption.”

Another detective on the Brinks Mat investigation who was interviewed by the authors, Michael Charman, told them of an incident involving Holmes that made an impression. “One day I met him (Holmes) on the fire escape. He came straight up to me and said something strange and disturbing. “Boyo, don’t you ever take a penny from the likes of Kenny Noye”.

“From his choice of words and the look on his face there was only one way you could interpret the remark. He was speaking from experience.”

Noye, now serving a life sentence for a road rage murder, was convicted of laundering the proceeds of the Brinks Mat robbery from a warehouse of that name near Heathrow Airport in 1983.

Gold ingots and other material worth more than £26m were stolen in an armed robbery that sparked one of the longest investigations in British police history.

The family of Daniel Morgan has issued legal proceedings against Home Secretary David Blunkett, seeking a judicial review of his decision not to hold a public inquiry.

In an interview with the book’s authors, Daniel’s brother Alastair says, “It makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable that the state holds all the cards. We are subjects not citizens. I feel demeaned as a human being.”

“We still haven’t got anywhere near the bottom of it yet. We’ve been fighting for 17 years. Let that speak for itself. That’s how hard it is to get anything done in Britain.”

“We have the right to know if policemen were involved in killing my brother. Now we are at the beginning of a long battle over the disclosure of all the other documentation about the murder. We want openness and we want honesty.”

“We’re tired of groping around in a labyrinth of darkness and secrecy.”

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