Prosecution failures in unsolved murder

Daniel Morgan murdered in Sydenham in March 1987. Photo: Met Police

A joint Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service report into the latest collapse of a trial of people accused of murdering private detective Daniel Morgan, 37,  in the car park of the Golden Lion pub, Sydenham, 1987, has highlighted failures to disclose evidence and mistakes in the handling of “supergrass witnesses.”

Daniel Morgan died from having an axe embedded in his skull. His killing 25 years ago remains one of the most notorious unsolved murder inquiries in the history of the Met.

Allegations of police corruption along with issues arising out of the Leveson Inquiry concerning the conduct of people hired by the former sunday newspaper, the News of the World, have mired the case in controversy.

Justice for Daniel campaign web site run by his brother Alastair Morgan.

Morgan’s brother Alastair has long campaigned for “Justice for Daniel.” He believes he was killed because he was about to expose police corruption. His brother’s former partner was one of three men acquitted at the Central Criminal Court in March last year,

The 147 page report recommends 17 reforms in practice and outlines a narrative of six separate police criminal investigations focusing on Daniel Morgan’s murder:  “In the last twenty years over sixty people have been arrested, (some individuals more than once), twelve were for murder.” Yet not one person has been found guilty. It is estimated that £50 million have been spent on investigations and inquiries connected with the crime.

The purpose of the report was to identify “good practice and learning points that police officers and prosecutors could benefit from in the future.”  The review was not set up to “investigate allegations of corruption, nor was it intended to serve the purpose of an investigation for police disciplinary purposes.”

Joint Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Review in Operation Abelard II

The review also recommended “improvements in the archiving of police material and the control and direction of the investigation and prosecution.”

The report’s publication offers little comfort to Daniel’s brother Alastair and his family who had a meeting with prosecutors today. Alastair and his family have been reported as seeking a judicial public inquiry into what went wrong with the case and fear nobody will ever be brought to justice for what happened.

Scotland Yard has admitted the first inquiry into the killing was affected by police corruption.

Alastair Morgan says the report produced today did not tell him anything he did not know already and that he had used the meeting to outline the serious matters that had gone on in the past. He would not be giving up the fight for justice.

The wife of one of the senior investigating officers in the 2002 inquiry into Daniel Morgan’s murder, Jacqui Hanes, gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry in February this year and alleged that she and her husband had been placed under surveillance by the now defunct News of the World newspaper: “Any reasonable person would find it very difficult not to put them together and feel that in some way there was some collusion between people at the News of the World and people who were suspected of the murder of Daniel Morgan.”

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, said she would consider the demand for a judicial inquiry into the murder case on receipt of the joint Met Police & CPS report into what had gone wrong with the last failed prosecution. The victim’s family say she is now in a position to comply with their request.

Alastair Morgan interviewed by ITV news after meeting prosecutors following release of the review report.

A joint statement published today from Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police Service, and Alison Saunders,Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS London said: “This case, as the trial judge said, was of an exceptional scale and complexity, with over three quarters of a million documents gathered over 20 years being examined. The issues around the disclosure exercise were such that we could not guarantee that all relevant material had been identified, considered and disclosed so as to ensure a fair trial. A further factor related to the unreliability of critical witnesses.”


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