With your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if the
right hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith), who is anxious to participate in
this debate, should catch your eye, he does so with my full agreement and that of the Minister.
I am grateful to have obtained this debate on an issue of crucial public interest and concern. The
Minster understands that today I will criticise the Home Office, the Metropolitan Police Service,
other police authorities and the whole criminal justice system, which has failed my constituent
Mrs. Isobel Hulsmann and failed to root out incompetence and corruption. The Minister will also
know that the criticism is not directed towards her, because she has only recently taken up
her post. Today, however, she has the opportunity to make a name for herself, to right an injustice
and to reinforce the Governments reputation for standing up for the victims of crime and for
Daniel Morgan was murdered 17 years ago. He was found with an axe embedded in his face in the car
park of a south London pub shortly after his murder. Detective Sergeant Sid Fillery conducted
the first four so-called golden days of the murder inquiry but was removed from the
murder squad when his relationship with Jonathan Rees, Daniel Morgans partner in Southern
Investigations, was revealed. Sid Fillery went on to take up joint ownership of Southern
Investigations, and therefore benefited from Daniel Morgans death.
The circumstances surrounding Daniel Morgans death in March 1987 are complex and far-reaching,
yet my constituent Isobel Hulsmann, the deceaseds mother, is left with not only the immeasurable
grief of having lost a son in the most brutal of murders but the spectacle of the criminal justice
systems having failed again and again to bring those responsible for that murder to answer for
Why did our criminal justice system fail? The answer is unknown to my constituent, but during the
past 17 years she has sought to place her confidence in four separate police investigations, only
to find that each one has come to nothing. On the conclusion of the fourth and final investigation
last year, the senior officers in charge expressed their strong view that the evidence that they
had gathered called out for a prosecution of the primary actors in the murder. Nevertheless,
the Crown Prosecution Service declined to bring any such prosecution, forcing the officers to
accept that decision, while insisting that they disagreed with it.
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In the event, the officers, like the Crown Prosecution Service, have confirmed to my constituent
that she has reached the end of the road as far as the criminal justice system is concerned and
that she cannot look for any further progress in that direction. They also explained to her their
view that the case represented the worst mess they had ever seen and that the real
mischief in the case lay in the initial investigation of 1987–88; that the role of ex-Detective
Sergeant Sid Fillery in that investigation lay at the heart of the mischief; that a number of
other police officers around him had sought to protect him; and that their
reinvestigation had therefore been an endeavour to build on what they had
inherited from previous investigations, understandably focusing on the immediate
actors in the murder, within the parameters set by the damage that had already
been done. Those officers sought in vain to respond to suspicions about the
mischief that had taken place in the initial investigation, particularly with
regard to the roles and identities of the police officers who may have had a lot
to gain from protecting Sid Fillery.
In other words, my constituent has heard from the Metropolitan Police Service confirmation
of her long-held suspicion that the apparent unwillingness or inability of the criminal
justice system to deal with the case may have a lot to do with Sid Fillery and other
officers, serving or retired, who may have much to gain from protecting him. In that
light, I am asking the Minister today to make use of her parliamentary prerogative
to institute a full judicial inquiry under section 49 of the Police Act 1996, which
is the only way of obtaining fresh and independent scrutiny of the murder and of the
circumstances in which successive investigations into it have come to nothing.
The only form of public scrutiny that the murder has received in the past 17 years has
been at an inquest in April 1988, which culminated in a verdict of unlawful killing.
In the course of evidence at that inquest, allegations were made on oath of involvement
by Metropolitan Police officers in the murder and in covering up that involvement. It
emerged that Jonathan Rees, Daniel Morgans business partner in their private detective
company, Southern Investigations Ltd., had talked about having Daniel killed and arranging
for police officers at Catford CID to be involved in the murder and its subsequent cover-up.
That was according to the company bookkeeper, Kevin Lennon.
It also emerged that not only was Sid Fillery among those officers but he played a key
role in the initial murder inquiry during the so-called first four golden days
before he was required to withdraw from the murder squad for reasons of personal
involvement with the primary suspect, Jonathan Rees. During those four days, Fillery
was given the opportunity to manage the first interview under caution with Rees, and to
take possession of key incriminating files from the premises of Southern Investigations Ltd.,
including Daniels diary, which has never since been found. Kevin Lennon also spoke of
Fillerys intentions to retire from the Metropolitan police force on grounds of ill health
and take up the vacant seat in Southern Investigations Ltd. left by Daniels death. That
is exactly what happened, and to this day Fillery and Rees remain business partners in what
was Daniels private detective company.
More than 17 years after the murder, my constituent, Mrs. Hulsmann, is confronted with
the plain fact that she, like her son, has been failed by the system. Despite her best
efforts, those who committed this gruesome act have never been brought to justice and she
has had to accept that they may never be brought to justice. She should not be burdened
with the responsibility of ascertaining the reasons behind the criminal justice systems
failure to bring her sons murderers to book. That is the responsibility of the Government
on behalf of us all. That is why she now seeks a full judicial inquiry into the murder and
the subsequent police investigations.
6 Jul 2004 : Column 232WH
Like many other Members of this House and the other place, I
strongly support her case, together with that of Alastair Morgan, the brother of
the deceased, who has devoted his life to this campaign.
It seems to me and my constituent that the Government have a particular duty to bring
public scrutiny to bear on the case. The refusal with which we have been met is not
becoming of a Government who pride themselves in looking after the interests of victims of
crime. This is not a case of the Government being unable to help, but of their being
unwilling to accept their responsibility, and we are compelled to seek answers for this
apparent lack of will. Is it because they have something to hide, or is it because the
implications of bringing the matter to a head are so far-reaching that they may make life
uncomfortable for many in the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office? The Governments
attitude towards the murder of Daniel Morgan so far has been one not of openness,
collaboration and firm fair action, but of sustained damage limitation.
Public inquiries serve the cause of public accountability. They also serve to eliminate
in the publics mind any doubt about the possible involvement of the person or Department
that institutes them. Unfortunately, the Home Office does not have an entirely
innocent record. The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 commanded several
structural changes to the constitutional arrangements of our police forces, not
least with respect to the independent police authorities to which forces are accountable.
For the record, the Metropolitan Police Service was directly accountable to the Home
Office at the time of the murder and of all police investigations into the case except
the fourth and final one. Similarly, the Home Office was also responsible for the
Police Complaints Authority, which supervised a 1988 - 89 investigation into the
case by Hampshire police, which is said to have looked into and eliminated the
possibility of police involvement in the murder or its aftermath. Therefore, it
was on the watch of the Home Office that the terms of reference of that Hampshire
investigation were changed, secretly and without the knowledge of the family,
midway through the inquiry. Having started out to investigate allegations that
the police were involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan and matters arising there
from, the inquiry was required after the change to proceed in the furtherance
of prosecuting the suspects Rees, Goodridge (an associate of Rees), Wisden (Goodridges
girlfriend) and anyone else for the murder of Daniel Morgan, without any reference
to police involvement.
The very fact that the terms of reference of a so-called independent inquiry carried out
by an outside police force were changed during the course of that inquiry is cause for great
concern, and almost of itself warrants a judicial inquiry. However, it is also
inconceivable that those changes would have been allowed without the consent of
the Home Office at a senior level, to which the all concerned were answerable at
the time. It therefore lies particularly ill in the mouth of the Home Office to
seek to rely on that very investigation in order to refute the continuing
suspicions of police involvement in the murder.
We have called for a public judicial inquiry under section 49 of the
Police Act 1996, and we point to the moral and legal obligations of
the Government to hold such an inquiry.
6 Jul 2004 : Column 233WH
It is not open to the Government to hide behind some obscure case law in their
attempt to evade those obligations, as they appear to do in the letter of 10 June
from the Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community Safety. It is unbecoming
of the Government to suggest that they have no obligations because of a mere accident
of timing—the fact that the murder took place before the enactment of the Human Rights
Act 1998 and the incorporation of the European convention on human rights into domestic law.
It is significant that support for that dishonourable proposition is sought from the
recent judgment in the House of Lords in the case of McKerr, which arose out of the
shoot-to-kill policy in Northern Ireland. Apart from any legal considerations, that
is clearly a unique political situation. Instead, we invite the Government to look
at other decisions of the House of Lords in cases where the political context has
been less inhibiting, which serve to establish the obligations of the Government to
ensure an effective official inquiry with the benefit of public scrutiny and
As for the purpose of such an inquiry, we can do no better than to point to the words
of Lord Bingham of Cornhill in the case of Amin last year: The purposes . . . are
clear: to ensure so far as possible that the full facts are brought to light; that
culpable and discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice; that
suspicion of deliberate wrongdoing (if unjustified) is allayed; that dangerous
practices and procedures are rectified; and that those who have lost their relative
may at least have the satisfaction of knowing that lessons learned from his death
may save the lives of others. On behalf of my constituent and her family,
I am calling for a full public judicial inquiry.
Mr. Chris Smith (Islington, South and Finsbury
I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Mr. Williams)
for enabling me to contribute to this debate. The case is one that I have pursued
for well over 10 years on behalf of my constituent, who is Daniel Morgan's brother,
The facts of the case are indisputable. Daniel Morgan was murdered more than 17
years ago. It was a particularly hideous and brutal murder, for which no one has yet
been convicted. There have been four police inquiries into what happened, into the
murder and the issues surrounding it, and those inquiries have yielded no prosecutions.
The Morgan family have lived through more than 17 years of anguish, distress and
considerable frustration in their attempts to get the case properly investigated,
and to secure information and sight of the investigations that have taken place.
I support the call that has been made by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire.
Two things are required, and I ask my hon. Friend the Minister to consider them
carefully. First, in the letter from the Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing
and Community Safety to myself and others on 10 June, she stated that she would be
willing to consider meeting the family, myself, the hon. Member for Brecon and
Radnorshire and Lord Livsey - who has also been pursuing the case - once the family
had seen the conclusions of the fourth inquiry. The family have now seen those
6 Jul 2004 : Column 234WH
They are as distressing as the conclusions of the three previous inquiries. The
family would welcome the opportunity to meet the Minister of State, and I hope that
the Minister will, on her behalf, agree in principle to such a meeting.
The second thing that is required is a proper judicial inquiry. When the Minister
of State wrote to me on 10 June, she explained that judicial inquiries are
established only in the most exceptional circumstances. She explained that, where
there has been a public disorder or general issues need to be considered, a public
inquiry is, on rare occasions, contemplated as a way to resolve that issue.
Partly because of the cases longevity, partly because of the number of failed
investigations that have led nowhere, and particularly because there have been
serious question marks right from the word go about the possible involvement of
police officers in either the murder or the frustration of subsequent investigations
- those serious question marks reflect not just on the particularities of the case
but on the good name and standing of the Metropolitan Police Service as a whole - I
argue that a public inquiry is the right way to try to resolve the issues
surrounding the murder once and for all.
Notwithstanding the Minister of States suggestion in her letter to me and to others
that she was not prepared to contemplate holding an inquiry at this stage, I hope
that she will listen carefully to the points that have been made by the hon. Member
for Brecon and Radnorshire. The central point about the remaining questions that
hang in the air over the murder, and that will continue to hang in the air over the
murder if it remains unresolved, is that an inquiry is the right way to proceed.
The brutal murder has remained unresolved for far too long. The police investigation
route appears to have been thoroughly exhausted. It is important to find new ways
of ensuring that the case can be resolved, because simply to wash our hands of it and say
that nothing more can be done is not an adequate response.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Caroline Flint) :
I commend the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Mr. Williams) and, in support,
my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) for
bringing the issue to our attention. As they both rightly said, Mr. Morgans death
was particularly horrific and it remains troubling to them, as Members of Parliament,
and to the family of Daniel Morgan. To be honest, I cannot imagine the trauma and
frustration of not having an answer about who killed Mr. Morgan 17 years ago.
As my right hon. Friend said, my hon. Friend the Minister for Crime Reduction,
Policing and Community Safety has written to him and to others about the case.
She said in her letter of response to him that if, after receiving the information
from the Metropolitan Police Service, people felt it was appropriate to seek
a meeting, she was open to that. I will pass that back to her today, and I
apologise that she cannot be here to respond to the debate herself.
6 Jul 2004 : Column 235WH
I think that it will be helpful for me to set out the role of the Home Office
in cases such as this. The Secretary of State is rightly accountable to
Parliament for questions relating to the police. However, it is often not
appropriate to offer comment or make a judgment on the professional decisions
taken by the police, the Crown Prosecution Service or the Police Complaints Authority.
As in the past, the issue of a judicial inquiry has been raised. I want to be
clear that the Governments reason for not holding an inquiry is not a legal
technicality. There is no legal obligation to hold an inquiry, but that is
not the reason for the decision. The primary considerations, as my hon.
Friend the Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community Safety said,
were whether an inquiry would be useful, proportionate or in the wider
public interest. In coming to our decision, we had to consider the investigations
that have taken place over the past 17 years and the level of independent scrutiny.
I would like to set out the reasons for not pursuing an inquiry. First, inquiries
have been used when there has been serious public disorder or similar circumstances
in which wide-ranging and serious disquiet is felt about an event or issue affecting
a large proportion of a police force. Successive Home Secretaries have reserved that
power for such matters, and at this stage it is not appropriate to go beyond
that. I appreciate that Daniel Morgans family are frustrated, disappointed and
angry that no one has been prosecuted for his murder, and that there are
lingering concerns about police officer involvement in the killing.
Nevertheless, the Government do not consider that that in itself is sufficient
to warrant an inquiry.
The second reason for the decision is that, after four investigations and a
coroners inquest, the Government do not consider there to be a realistic
prospect of uncovering new evidence. I believe that the efforts of the Metropolitan
Police to pursue the case to a successful conclusion, despite not having done so,
have been extraordinary, and to their credit they have been prepared to look again
and again at what happened 17 years ago. As my right hon. and hon. Friends know,
following the initial investigation to find the perpetrator of the terrible
crime against Daniel Morgan and the coroners inquest into his killing, the
Metropolitan Police set up an independent investigation into their handling of
the initial investigation. That second investigation was carried out by
Hampshire Police and supervised by the Police Complaints Authority. Although I
recognise that there were concerns about the first Metropolitan police
investigation, they have undertaken subsequent investigations in an effort to
conclude the case.
A third police investigation was carried out as an intelligence-led, covert
investigation for the purpose of gathering evidence about the murder of Daniel
Morgan as well as allegations of police corruption. However, no charges were
brought against any person for an offence in connection with the murder,
although charges were brought against individuals for unrelated matters.
That was not the end, however. Nine months later, the Metropolitan Police
murder review group considered afresh whether all reasonable investigative
leads had been exhausted, and considered the possibility of uncovering new
evidence because of the existence of new investigative techniques. The
review identified a number of overt and covert investigative opportunities
that were available, and the fourth investigation was launched.
6 Jul 2004 : Column 236WH
At the end of the fourth investigation, the Metropolitan Police made
recommendations about a number of individuals in respect of offences
relating to the murder. However, after reviewing the available evidence,
the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to bring any charges against those
individuals for the murder of Daniel Morgan. I am afraid that it is not for me
to offer a judgment on the decisions taken by the Metropolitan Police or the
CPS in this case. Because of the four investigations and the coroners inquest,
we remain of the opinion that a further inquiry would be highly unlikely to
uncover any further evidence that would lead to a different outcome.
The third reason for the decision is that, although we understand the lingering
suspicion of the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire and the family about
the involvement of a police officer or police officers in the killing, that
cannot of itself warrant an inquiry. There have been two independent
scrutinies of the incident, and in coming to our decision we could not ignore
the fact that there was nothing to suggest police involvement in the murder.
The first instance of scrutiny was the coroners inquest. When delivering his
verdict of unlawful killing, he remarked that there was no evidence
whatsoever in this inquest to point to any police involvement in this
The second instance followed the Hampshire investigation on behalf of the
Metropolitan police into the allegations of police involvement in the killing.
The independent Police Complaints Authority supervised that investigation. The
PCA said that it was satisfied with how the investigation was conducted and
it concluded that there was no evidence of any involvement by a police officer
in the murder, or evidence to suggest that a member of the murder investigation
team had taken deliberate action to prevent the murder from being properly detected.
I know that the family are not happy with the PCAs conclusion, but the PCA has
confirmed to the Home Office that it considered the case rigorously and was
satisfied with the conduct of the investigation and the findings. The family
believes that the call for an inquiry is strengthened by the views, which have
been mentioned today, that were expressed to them by the police officers who led
the fourth investigation. I cannot comment on the circumstances in which those
views were expressed, but I am aware that the Metropolitan Police do not view the
account of the conversation in the same way as the family and their solicitors.
I am informed that the Metropolitan Police accept that the original investigation
falls below current investigative standards, but that it was consistent with the
standards of the day. However, I am also informed that the Metropolitan Polices
official view is that its fourth investigation found no evidence to support the
assertion that any police officer had been protected, or that any corruption existed.
I understand that the Crown Prosecution Service has offered a meeting, but that
it unfortunately had to be postponed. I would encourage the family to take up
the opportunity if possible to discuss further the outstanding questions that
they have with the CPS, and in particular its refusal to pursue charges and
take the matter to court.
6 Jul 2004 : Column 237WH
Mr. Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire) (LD):
I thank the Minister for the fullness of her replies, which
we shall obviously consider. However, would she consider why the terms of
reference of the first inquiry were changed? Presumably, that prejudiced
the decision as to whether police were involved, as its terms were
changed from the consideration of the polices involvement to that of
other people who were accused of the murder.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Caroline Flint) :
My understanding is that the terms of reference of the
second investigation were to investigate allegations that police were involved
in the murder of Daniel Morgan, and matters arising. That investigation was
carried out under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. I
understood that that was the point of the second investigation, and that the PCA
considered the matter and came to conclusions. I cannot comment any more on
changes to the terms of reference; those were the terms of reference and that
was the basis on which Hampshire Police and the PCA carried out their
In terms of the Home Offices specific responsibility, the Met was accountable
to the Home Secretary and Parliament. However, the forces operational decisions,
and those of the PCA, are independent of Government, and it is not for Ministers
or the Home Office to interfere with them. Parliament has not given such powers
Finally, for what it is worth, I should like to offer my sincere sympathy to
Daniel Morgans family. It is clear that Daniel was tragically murdered, and
the familys searches for answers over the years have been, I am sure,
traumatic, and continue to be frustrating. I know that my response today may
be a disappointment to the family; I am sure that it will be, based on the
representations of my two colleagues who are here on their behalf today.
Of course, the case is still considered by the Met to be open. There seem
to be many instances where Members of Parliament and the family have views
that are opposed to those of the Metropolitan Police, the Police Complaints
Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service.
As I said at the outset, I shall tell my hon. Friend, the Minister for Crime
Reduction, Policing and Community Safety that a meeting would be beneficial
to the family and colleagues here, and I hope that they will take up the
opportunity to meet the Crown Prosecution Service as well. I hope that the
recent openness shown by the Metropolitan Police and the CPS in seeking to
provide an open explanation to the family has helped in some way. If it is
felt that that provides the basis for a meeting with the Minister, I shall
relay that to her, and I am sure that she will listen sympathetically.