United Kingdom

The key players in the Daniel Morgan case: From murder suspect to former officers

Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the murder of Daniel Morgan in more than 30 years. 

The father-of-two was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, in 1987.  

Now an independent panel set up to look into the case has published a scathing report in which it accused the Met of 'a form of institutional corruption' for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder.

Here, as the killing bursts back into the public eye again, we examine the key players in the case... 

DCS DAVID COOK

The detective chief superintendent was in charge of reviewing Mr Morgan's murder – but went on to face investigation for misusing confidential papers. He claimed he had planned to 'set the record straight' about corruption – but yesterday's report described his actions as the 'unlawful dissemination of material to journalists and others'.

A police raid on his home in 2014 found a range of documents from the Morgan case and others, including some that were marked 'secret'.

Baroness O'Loan's report said: 'There is no evidence of payment for any of the unauthorised disclosures. However, there is evidence that he hoped to profit from his activities in the future.'

Pictured left: Jonathan Rees leaving the Old Bailey in 2011. Right: Detective Superintendent David Cook

SUSPECT JONATHAN REES

Mr Morgan's business partner at Southern Investigations was twice charged with his murder. No trial ever took place due to difficulties with evidence.

On the night of the murder, Rees met Mr Morgan in the Golden Lion pub – where his body would later be discovered. Rees claimed he left before Mr Morgan was killed.

Police who visited Rees's home to question him a few hours later described him as 'extremely nervous', while his wife's behaviour was said to be 'odd'.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates outside New Scotland Yard in London, 2011

AC JOHN YATES

The assistant commissioner was strongly censured over the failure to prosecute suspects in 2011. The report found: 'AC John Yates was responsible for failure to impose a proper management structure and the fact that the Abelard Two investigation [the codename for the inquiry into Mr Morgan's murder] was not run properly... the absence of any proper functioning oversight process during the period from 2008 to 2011 by AC John Yates was unacceptable.'

THE CPS

The Crown Prosecution Service ruled in 2015 that it would not bring criminal charges against DCS Cook.

Yesterday's report accused the organisation of sending an 'appalling message to officers of all ranks', adding: 'It is... surprising that senior lawyers should conclude that… Cook had a public interest defence for his criminal behaviour that was so strong that it could not be challenged.

'This sends an appalling message to officers of all ranks about how the criminal justice system views such conduct, which is in breach of all the fundamental duties of a police officer.'

HAMPSHIRE POLICE

The force not only failed to conduct an independent inquiry in 1989, but also neglected to pursue evidence of potential criminality by serving and former officers.

The report said: 'It did not pursue, to the fullest extent possible, evidence that serving or former police officers were involved in the murder of Daniel Morgan; had committed crimes not connected to the murder of Daniel Morgan; or had been guilty of disciplinary offences, whether or not connected to the murder of Daniel Morgan. There is some evidence that this was deliberate conduct.'

POLICE WATCHDOG

Priti Patel brought forward plans to review the 'effectiveness and efficiency' of the Independent Office for Police Conduct last night, following yesterday's revelations.

The Home Secretary said of the IOPC: 'The issues raised by Daniel Morgan's independent panel further reinforce the need for a strong police watchdog.'

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, pictured on April 8, 2021 

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